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THE IT FACTOR - Dishing about Decent Work and the Millennial Shift

Bring on the "it factor"

Everyone knows someone with “it” – those people who’s energy and personality make them stand out in the crowd. There’s just something about them that’s absolutely irresistible. I’d say millennials are bringing the “it factor” to Canada’s workforce when given half the chance these days. We’ve got the spark that agitates and innovates.

That’s why this podcast exists – to give the mic to a generation that is more talked about than heard in public conversations about work. On Just Work It, we dig in to the issues that come with this generational shift at work and in society. And in this occasional newsletter for the Just Work It community, we’ll dish with millennial activists and their friends about what they’re bringing to the decent work movement and how it’s making the world of work more just.

Consider this your invitation to join the conversation! We’re excited to hear what you’ll bring to it.

Listen to our first live podcast event!

You’re the first to know: our live podcast recording about the future of work has dropped! Listen to it on your favourite podcast platform. Jump into the conversation at #JustWorkIt2062. Experience the excitement of the evening on a captioned video. Heads up! This episode contains language that some people may find offensive.

9 to 5: Is this how we’ll make a living in 2062?

We recorded 2062 in front of a live audience in January 2019. The podcast includes a rapid-fire segment called “Take It or Leave It” during which the audience had the chance to say what they wanted to carry with them into the future or let go.

Like this tweet from Herleen Arora suggests, the audience was really into leaving behind fixed work hours, “9 to 5”, and making flex-time the new normal — although we didn’t get to discuss our favourite work-from-home attire! (I’m partial to the Skype Conference Look, by the way.)

The buzz on this issue continued long after the show was over. The pro-nine to five crowd argued a predictable “working day” was a big win for the decent work movement back in the 19th century when employers demanded much more. It was known then as the Nine Hour Movement. Today, if you care for children, elderly parents or have any interests other than work, fixed hours and a fair schedule are a necessity.

The push-back came from those who experience flex-time as more than a lifestyle choice. They view it as a practical way to juggle lots of obligations and to do their best work. Remote work wasn’t possible in the industrial age. Most work required people to start and stop at the same time. That’s not the case anymore and likely will not be in the future at least for certain segments of the workforce.

Everyone could agree that work-life balance is a factor in the decent work equation. So, stability and flexibility are variables we have to fight for and learn to manage together. The Fight for $15 and Fairness has factored them into the campaign’s demands for decent hours and reasonable advance notice of schedules.

What’s your take on what a fair work day looks like in the future? 

Show us on Twitter or Instagram and see what others think too.

It doesn’t fit the kind of work many of us do.

My mom works in a hospital. She needs to put in the hours. It’s not like, ‘I’ll do all my work in three hours.’ Patients don’t work that way. ‘Aah, you got a heart attack but like, you know, we’re only doing three hours today.’

But I think for a lot of us it just feels like a very antiquated idea to have set hours. On the weekends – just these two days – and then you work the week. I don’t think it’s practical. And to be honest I think most of us – and maybe I shouldn’t speak for all of us – but most of us only do 15 to 20 minutes of work in a week.

— Hari Kondabolu

Hear Hari’s take on this issue and others in our latest podcast.

Just Work It
Atkinson Foundation