The impact of the covid-19 pandemic brought to the table the need –and the possibility– of rethinking traditional labor schemes to implement formulas that allow having jobs that promote greater flexibility and life balanceexpressed the International Labor Organization (ILO).
When analyzing official data from different countries, the agency found that Mexico is within the group of nations that has a greater labor imbalance, which is reflected in high levels of underemployment or overemployment. This shows the scope for rethinking work formulas and promoting a better life balance among working people.
Either because there are those who work fewer hours than they need or because there are people who have longer working hours than those established by law, Mexico is among the countries with the greatest imbalance in working time, at a level that encompasses the 41.7% of the labor forcesurpassed only by what was observed in the Philippines (43.2%) and above the data for Chile and Venezuela, both with 40.9 percent.
“In terms of countries or regions, high or low levels of imbalance are driven by various factors. The highest rates of imbalance were found in Filipinas, Mexico, Chile y Venezuela”, indicates the organization in the report Working time and the balance between work and private life in the world released this Friday. In the four countries mentioned, this phenomenon is produced to a greater degree by the number of people who have excessive working hours.
For their part, the nations with the lowest levels of imbalance between their labor force are Croatia (11.0%), Austria (14.2%) y Hungary (14.2%).
According to the ILO, “the reduction of working hours and the more flexible organization of working time can benefit economies, companies and workers and lay the foundations for a better and healthier balance between work and life.” private life”.
According to the data provided by the study, more than a third of the global labor force works more than 48 hours a weekwhile one fifth is underemployed, that is, they work less than 35 hours a week, this affects to a greater extent those who are in the informal economy.
In the case of Mexico, the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE) of November of last year –the latest data available– reflect that, of the total labor force, 26.5% work more than 48 hours per week, that is, 15.6 million people. Meanwhile, 7.6% is underemployed, which is equivalent to 4.5 million people. In short, both measurements together cover one in three workers in the country.
Alternatives to make the labor market more flexible
The telecommuting It was one of the alternatives most used by companies in the pandemic, mainly in the first waves, as a measure to maintain their operations and prevent the spread of covid-19, which, according to the ILO, “changed the nature of employment, and probably will do so more in the foreseeable future.”
However, this is not the only alternative to make the labor market more flexible and promote a better work-life balance. For those who cannot carry out their work remotely, the agency puts on the table options such as shift work systems, compressed schedules and average annual hours. However, he cautions that some of these modalities may drive further gender imbalances and health risks.
offer more flexibility and autonomy empowering employees to decide how, where and when to carry out their work not only benefits individuals, it can also improve overall productivity in companies. On the contrary, not doing so can lead to significant costs, such as those caused by staff turnover, the study warns.
“There is a considerable amount of evidence that policies balance between professional and private life they provide important benefits to companies, supporting the argument that these types of policies are beneficial for both employers and employees, ”says the ILO.
For example, an adverse effect of reversing a labor flexibility What has been achieved in the pandemic has been the phenomenon of “the great resignation” in various economies, whereby thousands of people have left their jobs in search of better conditions, which has put the work-life balance “on the front line of the social and labor market issues of the post-pandemic world,” said Jon Messenger, one of the lead authors of the report.
Some of the agency’s recommendations to promote a better work-life balance son:
- Workday. Review the legislation and regulations to reduce the weekly working hours as much as possible. “Longer work hours are generally associated with lower productivity, while shorter hours are associated with higher productivity.”
- Labor flexibility. Take advantage of the experiences gained with the reduction and flexibility of working hours during the Covid-19 crisis, in addition to promoting part-time employment with the highest possible benefits.
- New labor regulation. Ensure the best health and safety conditions in flexible employment modalities, for example, guarantee the right to digital disconnection, since in the case of home officethe extension of working hours can have adverse effects on people.
“This study shows that if we apply some of lessons learned during the Covid-19 crisis and carefully analyzing the way working hours are structured, as well as their average duration, we can create a win-win situation, improving both business performance and life balance work and family”, highlighted Jon Messenger.
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