КОНТРОЛЬНАЯ РАБОТА № 2
FUTURE WORKING PRACTICES
Flexible working practices may be inevitable given the rise in travel costs and the attendant campaigns to stem carbon emissions. Flexible work could also address issues such as employee stress and absenteeism. According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and development, UK four in 10 organizations have already extended the right to request flexible working beyond the legislative requirement. Seventy four percent of employers believe this has had a positive effect on retention, while 70 percent of organizations believe it has improved motivation. However, employees may be concerned that flexible work may deprive them of the kind of social culture that influences promotion, while employers tied to multiyear property contracts may not be ready to surrender their office space just yet. We ask 3 people what they believe the next 20 years will hold.
“The momentum towards increasingly flexible working work practices is, I believe, unstoppable,” says Sarah Murray, specialist on the impact of business on society and a contributor to the Financial Times. “Employees want it. The desire to balance work with rest of life has moved up the list of priorities, and employers are now recognizing that an employee may also be a caregiver, whether to children or ageing relatives, and needs to balance those responsibilities with their work. Second, for the generation now entering the workforce, the line dividing work and rest of their life is extremely thin. The ability to operate across time zones and geographies is simply taken for granted.”
In the short turn companies can turn to flexible working as a cost-cutting measure. Do they really need to spend so much money on employee travel and expensive office facilities?
Finally, the environmental issue will play an important role here. Videoconferencing and other communications technology have advanced to such extent in recent years that companies can now realistically start to think about substantial reductions in their travel-related carbon emissions. The ability to talk remotely and seamlessly to colleagues while seeing their facial expressions, gestures and reactions makes frequent air travel and even daily commuting look less compelling.
The general thrust of the next two decades will be to allow more freedom for employees to work anywhere, any time and in any way that will achieve the goals of the organization. This will mean that the organizations will have to more precisely define expected outcomes and base compensation on results rather than the title or length of service. On the other hand, an increasing number of people will choose to work for themselves or for smaller organizations and the will certainly control where and how work. We have already seen that consultants, programmers, designers, writers and other professional people choose to forgo renting an office and work from their homes or from communal space such as a restaurant or a coffee shop. We will see a gradual decline in number of regularly employed workers and a rise in the number of independent and contracted workers.
“In the next 20 years there will be profound changes,” says Bernard Salt, a demographic specialist and best-selling author. “Technological improvements to telecommuting will enable people to live in one space and to work in another. No more commuting, much less stress – this process is already underway in some industries such as advisory and media. Now the bad news: the thing holding this revolution back is a reticence by some employers – and some employees – who believe that the work you do or your chances of promotion diminish with distance from the workplace. Once the view that you have to be in the office to be noticed is eliminated then the natural efficiency of people living and working where they want to live will prevail. It might need to wait for the next generation: when the baby boomers step back early next decade, a new generation of managers and workers will recognize the workplace in truly efficient ways, and show us that the idea that workers must work at the employer’s workplace belongs to the last century.
It seems that the flexible working revolution is unavoidable. The fact that constant advances in technology will allow seamless communication regardless of location and time zone is a key factor. The rise in travel costs may also do much to persuade employers. Although many industries will continue to require employees to work onsite for practical reasons, the general prediction is that numbers of regularly employed staff will diminish and make way for an increasing level of freelancers. We may also see a migration to smaller organizations or those more willing to extend flexible working. The future for employees seems to rest in their hands.
Task 1. Read the text. Translate paragraphs 1, 5 and 7 (in bold type) in the written form.