• Quote of the Day
    "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
    Kahlil Gibran, posted by David Baxter

Daniel

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Options On The Flex-Work Menu
by Heidi Glenn, National Public Radio
March 14, 2010

For those who think working 9 to 5 is all takin' and no givin' (as Dolly Parton once sang), there are options for a more flexible work arrangement. Don’t know your flextime from your job sharing? Here's a quick primer.

Flexible Working Benefits Offered By Some U.S. Companies
[table="head" width=37%]|Organizations that offer the benefit |Plan to eliminate or cut the benefit within the next 12 months
Casual dress day | 59% | 2%
Flextime | 54% | 1%
Telecommuting (ad hoc) | 45% | 1%
Break arrangements |43% | 2%
Mealtime flex| 41% | 1%
Compressed workweek |37% | 1%
Casual dress every day |36% |2%
Telecommuting (part time)| 34%| 2%
Shift flexibility| 21%| 3%
Telecommuting (full time)| 19%| 1%
Job sharing| 16% |2%
Seasonal scheduling |16% |1%
Alternating location| 4%| 9%
Results-only work environment| 3% |0% [/table] Source: Society For Human Resource Management

Flextime is when employees choose their own work hours within limits set by their employer — for example, working an 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule instead of the traditional 9 to 5 schedule, or working extra hours one day to make up for shorter hours worked another day.

Telecommuting is when employees work outside the office — say, at home or on a laptop in a coffee shop. The benefit can be offered on a one-time or ad hoc basis — for example, when a commuting crisis such as a snowstorm keeps workers away from the office — or as a part-time benefit.

Job sharing is when two or more employees share one full-time job; the employees can either alternate weeks, split the workday in half or work 2 1/2 days each week, with one overlapping day.

Still another option is a compressed workweek, which means, for example, working a four-day/10-hour-day workweek or a three-day/12-hour-day workweek.

Companies can also give employees flexibility when it comes to when they take their breaks or meals. For example, mealtime flex allows employees who take shorter lunch breaks to leave early. Employers can also let workers adjust their schedules by picking up shifts or trading them with co-workers, an option called shift flexibility.

Seasonal scheduling is when employees work only a certain number of months a year. And some companies allow employees to work part of the year in one location and part of the year in another location.

Finally, a results-only work environment basically turns the traditional workplace model of work hours and meetings on its head. Under this arrangement, employees can work where and whenever they wish, as long as projects are completed on time.

Work-life experts caution that many flex-work programs appear more generous on paper than in practice and can be highly dependent on individual supervisors.
 

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Work Strategies for Night Owls and Early Birds

For night owls and early birds, the traditional 9-to-5 workday can be agonizing. The exhausted night owl drags himself bleary-eyed into the office every morning, while the chipper early bird finds his energy waning well before quitting time.

But there are ways to cope. Experts offer these workplace survival strategies for those with body clocks out of sync with their employers' hours...
 

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BBC - Capital - The Australian company that banned work on Wednesdays
30 April 2019

On Wednesdays, while most of her friends are at work, Tiffany Schrauwen is on the tennis court, practising her backhand. The Melbourne project manager has a lesson all to herself at 09:00, and it can’t be bad for her game.

Schrauwen isn’t slacking off. For nearly a year, digital marketing agency Versa – where she works – has shut down on Wednesdays, giving staff a four-day week at five days’ pay....

A mid-week break lets staff go to the gym, get on top of house work, look after young children, schedule appointments, work on their start-up or just watch Netflix. Sometimes, they’ll catch up on work. Sick days are down, staff satisfaction is up, says Blackham. “You get that Monday feeling a couple of times a week.”

That Monday feeling of productivity was critical to Blackham’s decision to break the week into two “mini-weeks”, rather than creating a long weekend, which she feared may encourage her predominantly young staff to “have an even bigger weekend”...

Professor Jarrod Haar...has interviewed employees on rotating four-day weeks, and found they most enjoyed the Wednesdays off...

Barnes says his organisation is now mentoring around 50 companies on how to implement a four-day week.

The New Zealand-based CEO says changes to the way we structure full time work can address a host of social challenges. “One in five of our workforce is suffering mental stress at any given time. You address that issue, what does that do to health budgets? If you have an ability for parents to spend more time with their kids, what does that do to educational outcomes? If you’re not having cars backed up nose-to-tail in peak hour, what does that do for the environment?”

Professor Rae Cooper, a gender and employment relations academic at the University of Sydney, says the four-day week goes to address another key issue: the loss of highly-skilled women from the workforce. “The average age of the first birth in Australia is now in the early 30s. That’s when we hit our straps in terms of career development, earnings jumping up and really becoming very productive employees. That’s really when we’re losing women [from the workforce] because we’re not giving them choices to be both mothers and productive workers,” she says.

And this is something Versa’s Blackham is desperate to change. She wants to ensure her daughter can pursue both career and family life.

No one should have to fight for flexibility,” she says.
 

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Something worth avoiding -- certain employers demanding lots of schedule flexibility for their sole benefit:

Being Busy Is Eliminating the Joys of Shared Free Time - The Atlantic

The inability to plan even a week into the future exacts a heavy toll. For her recent book, On the Clock, the journalist Emily Guendelsberger took jobs at an Amazon warehouse, a call center, and a McDonald's. All three companies demanded schedule flexibility-on their terms. The most explicit about the arrangement was Amazon. While filling out an online application, Guendelsberger found the following advisory: "Working nights, weekends, and holidays may be required … Overtime is often required (sometimes on very short notice) … Work schedules are subject to change without notice."
 

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The Unmaking of American Work | The Nation
March 7, 2019

Sarah Kessler’s new book, Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work, is an account of the new generation of Internet businesses that have migrated from the Webvan model to the Instacart one...

While some gig-economy start-ups claim that people seek out such work because they want the flexibility, the truth is that they seek it out because it’s all that’s left for them. “I haven’t really met many people in general who don’t value stability and safety,” Kessler writes. The “flexibility” is imposed, and workers do the best they can to adjust. The exception is the highly skilled coder who finds that he can do better for himself as an independent contractor on a project-by-project basis online than as a full-time staff employee. He should enjoy it while he can, because with all the tech companies pushing coding into school curriculums, he’s going to have a lot more competition in the future, which means less money. Just ask the cabdrivers...

Gig workers, as Kessler reminds us, do not compose a large segment of the world’s labor force, but neither did industrial proletarians when Marx and Engels started paying special attention to them. This category of workers who do more and get less will continue to grow in importance for the 21st-century economy. At this point it’s clear that this is mostly bad for most people.
 

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On the positive side regarding the gig economy, the author of Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America mentions that an emerging alternative to companies like Uber and Instacart are platform co-ops (which are still relatively small):

Platform cooperative - Wikipedia

A platform cooperative, or platform co-op, is a cooperatively owned, democratically governed business that establishes a computing platform, and uses a website, mobile app or a protocol to facilitate the sale of goods and services. Platform cooperatives are an alternative to venture capital-funded platforms insofar as they are owned and governed by those who depend on them most—workers, users, and other relevant stakeholders.
 

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How coronavirus could change your office space and remote work from home - Vox

According to a new MIT report, 34 percent of Americans who previously commuted to work report that they were working from home by the first week of April due to the coronavirus. That’s the same percentage of people who can work from home, according to a recent University of Chicago publication.

These new numbers represent a seismic shift in work culture. Prior to the pandemic, the number of people regularly working from home remained in the single digits, with only about 4 percent of the US workforce working from home at least half the time. However, the trend of working from home had been gaining momentum incrementally for years, as technology and company cultures increasingly accommodated it. So it’s also likely that many Americans who are now working from home for the first time will continue to do so after the pandemic.

“Once they’ve done it, they’re going to want to continue,” said Kate Lister, president of consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, which is currently running a survey about work-from-home participation. She predicts that 30 percent of people will work from home multiple days per week within a couple of years. Lister added that there has been pent-up demand by employees for greater work-life flexibility, and that the coronavirus has made their employers see the light, especially as they themselves have had to work from home.
 

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Your portfolio is the first and perhaps the most powerful marketing tool that you have in your arsenal as a freelancer. Prospective clients use it to judge your competence, style, work ethic, and caliber. Without a good portfolio, there is no evidence that you are as capable and reliable as you claim to be.
 

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Health, life, dental, vision, and accident/injury insurance for freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers, or anyone else in the U.S. (and their spouses and dependents):


Background info:

Oct. 26, 2021

Stride Health, a benefits platform designed specifically for independent workers, today announced that it has raised $47 million to build on its platform, grow membership, and expand partnerships and distribution channels.

The company helps independent workers—freelancers, part-time workers, independent contractors, and other gig economy workers who don’t get health insurance benefits through an employer—sign up for health insurance via Healthcare.gov. It guides users through health plan selection and offers members other financial benefits and guidance...

While half the U.S. population gets health insurance through an employer, more than one-third of the workforce works in the gig economy full- or part-time, according to Upwork...

--------------------

For those with a major employer:

Instacart:

AmazonFlex:

Uber:

DoorDash:

Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, etc):
 
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