At 1MFWF, we always want to highlight what’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 the coronavirus has changed freelancing for both workers and employers.

How the Coronavirus Has Changed Freelancing

SHRM.org, Roy Maurer

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold and social distance rules went into effect, a new report found that a significant number of workers started freelancing for the first time in their careers in early March. A survey of 6,000 working freelancers conducted for Upwork, the freelance jobs platform, found that 34% of the freelance respondents started freelancing at the start of the pandemic, compared to the usual 10% who start freelancing during a “normal” six-month period. Significantly, the study by Edelman Intelligence also found that 28% of freelancers had lost work because of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. More people are working as freelancers, but the overall composition of the freelance workforce has changed.

How Will the World of Work Work Post-COVID? Three Expert Perspectives

Diginomica.com, Stuart Lauchlan

Three experts weigh in on how COVID-19 will transform the workplace in a post-pandemic world, when the crisis eventually comes to an end. One likelihood is that remote work is losing its stigma and becoming even more attractive as a work option, especially for parents who may be able to spend more time with their kids working from home. Hiring managers may want to consider overturning traditional education requirements in some instances, in favor of apprenticeships. The experts agreed that the pandemic is providing an opportunity to more proactively pursue a diverse workforce, with an emphasis on attracting a top-notch talent pool to fill job openings.

Embracing a Flexible Workplace

Microsoft.com, Kathleen Hogan

Microsoft has made news with its new plan to offer as much flexibility as possible to employees, making remote flexibility a new standard option. Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s Chief People Officer, makes the case for shaping workplace flexibility guidelines in three areas. The first is the worksite, whether it’s an office, home, or elsewhere; the second is work hours, including when an employee’s workday begins and ends and whether they’re full-time or part-time; and the last is work location, meaning the worker’s geographic location, including city and country. Hiring managers looking ahead to a post-COVID-19 workplace may want to incorporate Microsoft’s thinking on work flexibility policies into their own future guidelines.

One in Five Working Parents Treated Unfairly Since COVID Onset

WorkplaceInsight.net, Jayne Smith

New data from the UK shows that 20% of working parents feel they have been treated less favorably on the job than non-parents because of their additional childcare duties since COVID-19. The poll, taken during National Work Life Week, was conducted on behalf of Working Families, a UK group working on behalf of parents and carers. The report’s findings reinforce a call in the UK to add parenting and caregiving to the list of protected activities under the Equality Act, a United Kingdom law that protects people from discrimination in the workplace. The issue also highlights the continuing struggles of working parents worldwide in the midst of the pandemic, as they confront gaps in employer support and the continuing threat of lockdowns during COVID-19 surges.

Remote Work and the Risks of Employee Surveillance

WorkplaceInsight.com, Joe Aiston and Alexander Barnett

The combination of increased remote and flexible work and the continued impact of the pandemic has created a so-called “perfect storm” opportunity for companies to increase employee surveillance. Although spyware that helps organizations keep track of online activities and productivity isn’t new, it’s more at the forefront than ever before with increasing numbers of employees working from home for the long term. Increasingly sophisticated technologies enable mouse and keyboard tracking, webcam feeds, facial recognition, and even emotion recognition. Managers looking to increase how and when they track employees on company equipment must consider the potential legal fallout, as well as the HR implications for employer-employee relationships.

Stay on Top of News About Work Flexibility

Workplace trends affecting remote and flexible work can have a significant impact on your company’s plans for implementing sound guidelines for your employees. Join the efforts of 1 Million for Work Flexibility and stay abreast of best practices for work flexibility that can help you retain workers and attract top-tier job candidates.