At 1MFWF, we always want to highlight work that’s happening around the country and across the globe pertaining to work flexibility. While our own blog features regular contributions from experts on this topic, we also keep an eye out for great articles elsewhere on the web. Here are some recent news items not to miss, including how work flexibility could help the economy after the coronavirus pandemic.

Commute to the Basement: How Flexible Work Can Help Save the Economy after Coronavirus

USA Today, Calli Williams Yost

For many companies, flexible work is “the way through and the way out” of the coronavirus crisis. Despite the disheartening news about the millions of people who have filed for unemployment due to COVID-19, the good news is flexible work has enabled many organizations to keep employees working and companies functioning.

Citing a study by Monmouth University, more than a quarter of working adults in the U.S. began working remotely, practically overnight in some instances. In short, the current crisis has brought about a Rose the Riveter moment that demonstrates how work flexibility “was made for times like these.”

3 Ways the COVID-19 Crisis Could Change Workforce Culture for the Better 

Forbes, MeiMei Fox

The COVID-19 pandemic may have a profound and permanent impact on the expectations workers have of their employers going forward. A study by Have Her Back Consulting, a woman-owned consultancy focused on women’s issues, points to three major shifts in workforce culture.

Going forward, working parents may have an expectation that employers will provide childcare support, a trend that encompasses fathers as well as mothers. More than ever, dissatisfaction with pre-pandemic remote work policies may be a driving force that spurs companies to broaden their policies on remote and flexible schedules. Finally, some 90% of the survey respondents said employers should offer protections like guaranteed income and paid sick leave in the event of future crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19’s Economic Fallout Shows Why California Must Stop its War Against Freelancers

The San Bernardino County Sun, Mollie Williams and Caleb Trotter

A California law that governs working conditions for independent contractors has come into the spotlight because of COVID-19.

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) requires companies in many cases to either hire freelancers outright or abstain from working with them at all. Meant to increase job stability and benefits for freelancers, the law has ostensibly made it harder for many freelancers to find jobs.

While AB5 is meant to protect freelancers from exploitation, it gives little heed to the fact that, in many cases, independent contractors prefer not to be hired as employees due to a loss of work flexibility. A federal lawsuit challenging the law has been filed on behalf of journalists, who have been particularly hard hit by the new measure. Now, with a tight job market, thanks to the pandemic, the law should be reconsidered as a way to ease the way for freelancers to return work, if possible.

A New Era of Telework Should Be the Beginning of a More Flexible Federal Workforce

Government Executive, Shawn Skelly

Fewer than half of government employees are officially authorized to work from home, but that may change in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government has long required agencies to make remote work part of government policy, but COVID-19 may be the impetus to push those initiatives forward.

Remote work may also become more widespread among federal agencies due do generational change. About one-third of federal employees will become eligible for retirement in the next five years, making way for younger workers and an increased need to stay competitive with private industry and attract the best workers. Altogether, the changes already underway highlight the need to modernize the federal workplace, including putting flexible work plans into action.

“WFH” Stock Ticker Highlights Remote Work Surge

Employee Benefit News/Bloomberg, Katherine Greifeld

A new exchange-traded fund (ETF) is making its debut on the stock market under the ticker WFH, short for work from home. Direxion is starting the WFH ticker to track industries that are newly hot because of the pandemic.

Those industries include organizations specializing in remote work products and services, including cloud-computing technologies, cybersecurity, and remote communications, to name a few. The WFH ticker is a so-called thematic fund-tracking trend that seeks to capitalize on shifts and changes in the marketplace.

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