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OPINION: Are The Woke Generation Destroying Business?

As the debate rages over whether staff should be allowed to work from home when lockdowns end, another debate needs to be had about woke generation demands, that have seen some new generation workers, demand stress days to cope with climate change, or a “de-stress” week to combat corporate burnout and the impact of working from home.

A Millennial/Gen Z obsession with working less is gripping many companies and it’s starting to undermine the very idea of work itself in Australia.

How about a week off outside of contracted holiday periods so that they can catch their breath, recharge their batteries and spend time with their families to recover from the stress of COVID is being debated by some Wok executives.

I wonder how Australians in the past coped when the Japanese were bombing Darwin and Australia was at war and it was all hands on deck to save the economy with 60 hours a week common and workers were prepared to put the hours in that were needed.

The UK Telegraph said recently ‘We may not be seeing a huge amount of innovation across most companies right now, and shortages of many key items are clogging up the system across the world. But there is one corner of the economy that is seeing plenty of fresh thinking – novel ways of taking more and more time off.

The Gen Z/Millennial obsession with endlessly cutting down on working time is getting out of hand, they claimed.

Sure, it is important that people maintain a balance between the office and the rest of their lives.

But there are problems with this new trend.

It is a slippery slope, with working time steadily whittled away until hardly anything remains.

Australia was built and prospered on a formula of set hours when work conditions were set out in employment contracts and most people worked an 8-hour day or a 40-hour week, today the unions want 32-hour weeks and 12 weeks holiday leave along with big pay packets for their stressed-out workers.

Have you watched the TV News lately, hardly a night goes by without a whinging union official or someone trying to get paid more for doing less?

What’s happening in Australia is that a new reality is emerging with Millennial/Gen Z workers obsessed with working less hours.

Nike announced this week it was giving all its head office staff a mental-health break, an entire week off work to “de-stress”.

“Do not work” warned Nike senior manager Matt Marrazzo sternly, perhaps one of the more surprising injunctions ever to come out of a head office.

Let’s face it, when Australia comes out of lockdown and we all need to put our foot to the pedal, to get the economy moving again, so that the money that was handed out to Millennial/Gen Z workers, who whined over their social media networks about working from home and Government handouts, is paid down.

I can hear the squeals now from those that claim they are being unfairly treated when asked to go back and work from an office.

Suddenly they have to go back to working in an office, travelling to work and bonding with their work colleagues, worst of all they will have to face supervision be under the management of a superior.

No sneaking off to the beach or watching a movie in between a zoom call.

As we come out of COVID lockdowns we need to working harder and faster, we need to put in more hours not less if we are to go back to what made Australia the lucky Country.

The Telegraph reported that dating app Bumble, with a value of $11bn, said it was giving more than 700 people a week off to cope with corporate burnout (handy for catching up on some amorous messages, perhaps), while the social media platform Hootsuite gave its staff what it called a “wellness week” away from their desks.

Mathew Lynn wrote “Every time the company stops working for a week, it will take another week to pick up all the threads and get projects moving again. Files will have to be dusted off and memos refreshed, while competitors may well have taken advantage of the “wellness week” to steal a few sales, and steer away some of the suppliers”.

“Even worse, it sends a signal that work is not that important. It is something you can pick up or put down, according to what else is happening in your life. And yet, once you start sending out that message, managers can hardly be surprised if people respond accordingly – and stop bothering to try very hard”.

The reality is that once you have a “de-stress week”, then why not a fortnight (after all, you might as well relax completely), and then throw in a few beach days, a long therapy weekend, and then perhaps a reconnecting with friends and family week as well. The list will just get longer and longer until there is practically nothing left of the working year at all.

Every time a business stops working for a week, it will take another week to pick up all the threads and get projects moving again which is why we need to develop a work culture not a Woke culture.

Relax after the 40 hours are up, not during and I am sure that if you are stressed about these comments, you can always turn to social media to find a self-help course to get you through a 40-hour week.

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