August 31, 2018

The Roundup: Counting commuting as part of the work day, sharing salaries, and ideas for Labor Day

In this week’s Roundup, new research suggests counting commuting time as part of the work day, and Switzerland launches a salary transparency campaign. Plus, ideas for Labor Day weekend.

Should your commute count as work?

A new study, in which researchers analyzed commuters’ online habits, suggests that catching up on emails during your commute should be counted as work.

The researchers surveyed 5,000 commuters’ habits to see how they used free internet on their journeys on two of Chiltern Railways’ major routes in the U.K. – London/Birmingham and London/Aylesbury.

According to a summary from the Royal Geographic Society (RGS), where the researchers recently presented their findings:

Interviews with customers revealed why internet access was as important for commuters as business travellers. Many respondents expressed how they consider their commute as time to ‘catch up’ with work, before or after their traditional working day. This transitional time also enabled people to switch roles, for example from being a parent getting the kids ready for school in the morning to a business director during the day.

NPR, reporting on the study, says that the results “hint at what are likely to be increasingly complicated work-life discussions, in which employees and their bosses debate what qualifies as “work” and where the line between personal and professional time should be drawn.”

The researchers also noted that counting commuting as work time would have both social and economic impacts, such as allowing for more flexibility in working hours, and easing commuter pressure during peak hours. They further noted that it could have implications on the rail industry, in that it would need to invest more in creating conducive environments for commuters to work in.

Switzerland’s salary-sharing campaign

Quartz reported on a new campaign in Switzerland aimed at salary transparency.

The goal for the campaign, organized by a group of Swiss trade unions, is to go beyond breaking the taboo around talking about salaries, and push employers to address age discrimination.

Zeig deinen Lohn! (Show your income) encourages people to post their pictures and salaries to “create a new culture of conversation about wages,” Isabelle Lüthi, from Unia trade union, told Swiss news site 20 Minuten (translation via Quartz).

Quartz notes that the Swiss are known for being tight-lipped when it comes to finances – but if people don’t share information and have active discussions, the more wage discrimination and pay disparity are perpetuated.

There’s been a flurry of activity globally related to pay disparity laws in the last year. In this post, Ceridian’s Compliance Counsel Emerson Beishline outlines recent North American initiatives and updates aimed at decreasing pay disparity.

In the U.K., companies of 250 employees or more reported on gender pay information for the first time earlier this year, while Germany introduced The Wage Transparency Act in January.

Things to do this Labor Day weekend

Labor Day is an annual holiday to dedicated to celebrating workers’ achievements. In recognition of the long weekend ahead, Wired put together a list of workplace comedies to “channel the spirit of the holiday.”

Once you’ve had your fill of The Office (U.S. and/or U.K. versions), Veep, or Silicon Valley, amongst the titles on the list, we’ve written recently about some other activities you can do with your time off.

Practice the art of the microvacation, then, think about how you’ll make your vacation relaxation last for months. Or, try some productivity-boosting hacks. Make some lists, or take a social media break. Importantly, understand that maximizing productivity could also mean taking time for yourself.

Speaking of taking time for yourself, one way to do that is by spending time in nature and letting your mind wander. Whether you’re pondering Labor Day facts (for example, the eight-hour work day was established in 1916. Throughout the Industrial Revolution, people often worked 12-hour days, seven days a week) or looking for insights, going for a walk will both boost your mood and help you think.

If your work brain won’t quit, you can always get ready for National Payroll Week.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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