The End of Employees, and Other Industry News

Our weekly roundup of workplace news from around the web.

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  • “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry.” In fact, they add, “The contractor model is so prevalent that Google parent Alphabet Inc., ranked by Fortune magazine as the best place to work for seven of the past 10 years, has roughly equal numbers of outsourced workers and full-time employees, according to people familiar with the matter.”
  • Also recently in WSJ: a great article on the powerful benefits of even a little bit of nature. We’ll take this opportunity to encourage you to step outside, because apparently even a tiny touch of green in an urban setting is enough to make a difference. “Timothy Beatley, who runs the Biophilic Cities Project at the University of Virginia, promotes what he calls the ‘nature pyramid’ — a way of visualizing the recommended amounts of time in different natural environments. Like the famous food pyramid, the nature pyramid can help us to apportion the amount of nature we need. Dr. Beatley argues that while it might be nice to consume the rich goodies at the top (our rare, deep excursions to spectacular wild places), a nearby daily dose ultimately sustains us. That means finding nature where we already are.”
  • FM WORLD reports that, according to recent Sodexo research, “of 2,800 knowledge workers, 67 per cent admit they left their last role because the workplace was not optimized for them. Sixty-nine per cent say their workplace design directly impacted on their effectiveness — citing office noise, bad lighting and access to quiet space all as crucial factors.” What’s worse: “More than half (51 percent) claim that cutting unnecessary noise was the most important way to improve effectiveness. Lack of access to daylight and good lighting is cited by just under a half of respondents as a major disruptive factor. A third (35 percent) say access to quiet space is key to increasing productivity.”

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