Charlotte Jukes is a qualified teacher based in Wales. After graduating with a first-class honours degree in teaching, she started applying for jobs but wasn’t getting any interviews. She decided to stop disclosing that she was disabled, just to see what happened, and suddenly she was getting interviews.
She’s supporting our Work With Me campaign to ensure that disabled people can get and stay in work.
Charlotte at her graduation
I injured my spine in 2002 and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013. I’m in quite a lot of pain every day. I’ve had my conditions for quite some time and they have worsened over the years. I was a teacher up until March this year.
When I first graduated, with first-class honours, I thought it was going to be quite an easy process to get interviews. Especially given that my Local Authority have a policy where disabled people are guaranteed…
One of the things that is talked about a lot when it comes to dealing with stress, and overloads in autistic people is rest days; basically just taking a day to relax, and not having to worry about doing anything. It might be a set day each week, or it might just be decided depending on how the individual feels day to day. I myself talk about them, and advise autistic people to take them, and not to feel guilty for not doing much on those days. But as much as I talk about them, and know them to be a good thing I still find it hard to take my own advice, and let myself have days off. I find that I have a lot to fit in; I write both books and articles, I edit my work, I like to read, work out, and watch films most days…
Nurses at Svartedalens elderly care home in Gothenburg, Sweden, have had more energy, higher efficiency, and an overall boost in well-being ever since they started working shorter days earlier this year. The patients, in turn, are experiencing better care and attention, and the establishment has had a lower turnover rate. This positive shift is turning heads, causing other companies to re-evaluate their own practices.
Svartedalens began experimenting with a six-hour workday instead of the standard eight — with employees earning the same wages as before. The company found that a shorter workweek has led to happier and more well-rested employees, with benefits rippling throughout the workplace. Tasks are completed more efficiently — and are of higher quality — which makes for more satisfied customers, who in turn spread the word about the company. Other Swedish establishments have been following suit, reaping many of the same benefits.
And while this program seems fine for a Nordic welfare state, could this model work in the U.S.?
According to data from the International Labour Organization, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.” With no federal law requiring paid sick days, annual leave or parental leave, Americans find themselves working far more than people living in other countries.
Anna Coote, associate director of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, thinks the American work culture revolves around the concept that the more one works, the more successful he or she will be. She says implementing such a radical change would require a shift in the way the workplace is perceived altogether.
“Work better, yes, not work longer,” Coote told TODAY.com. “In the longer term people will see that the modern life isn’t just about working more and more and harder and harder hours.”
In fact, recent research shows that longer hours actually lead to a drop-off in productivity. Erin Reid, a Boston University professor, conducted a study in April 2015 in which she found that managers couldn’t tell the difference between employees who worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to. Working longer hours, she concluded, doesn’t necessarily mean working better — it can even have the opposite effect.
John Pencavel of Stanford University reached the same conclusion. He published a discussion paper in 2013 titled “The Productivity of Working Hours,” in which he found tha
Lisa Horn, co-leader of the Society for Human Resource Management’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative, said that shortening the workday can allow employees to have a life outside of the office while completing the same amount of work that they would if they were to give up those extra hours.
t productivity decreases after 50 hours of work in a week, so much so that someone who works 70 hours in a week produces the exact same amount as someone who works 55 hours.
With less time devoted to work, Coote thinks people will be able to dedicate more time to their families and leisure activities. Reducing work hours, she said, can even help the environment, as people will have more time to devote to sustainable activities such as gardening, and walking or biking instead of driving everywhere.
And while it might be difficult to imagine now, our workaholic culture wasn’t always a given. John Maynard Keynes predicted in his 1930 essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” that Americans would be working as few as 15 hours a week by now. He claimed that living standards in “progressive countries” would be so much higher within 100 years that people would have the means to spend far less time in the office and more time on leisure activities.
Keynes theorized that technological advancements would increase productivity in the workplace, allowing people to get the same jobs done in far less time. And according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall output from Americans working in both business and non-farm business sectors has increased every year since 1947, with the exception of 1974.
While the Svartedalens elderly care home didn’t cut employees’ pay along with their hours, many companies are still entrenched in a “punch card” mentality, where time — rather than productivity — is a big factor in determining compensation.
“Everybody should be able to earn to get what they need on a six-hour day. That’s not a lot to ask,” said Coote. “Children used to work in factories. 12-hour days used to be the norm. Things do change over time and it is possible to change them.”
Horn believes that a shortened workweek is just one of many ways that employers can begin to think about improving workplace productivity and the quality of life for their employees, and these changes have been in the works for some time. She cites shift-trading, self-scheduling, part-year work and telecommuting as options of a flexible work schedule.
“[It’s] cutting down on commuting times, increased engagement, more productivity, and I think that trend is only going to continue,” she said.
Horn notes that the reason for this continuing trend might be because millennials, who are known for valuing work-life balance, now make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. In efforts to recruit the best and the brightest of this group, companies are introducing workplace flexibility initiatives to accommodate the generation’s cultural expectation that one should not have to sacrifice his or her personal life for work.
“It really doesn’t matter when, where or how my work gets done, but that the work gets done,” Horn said. “As long as I’m meeting expectations and results, a lot of those concerns go by the wayside. It really comes down to a clear understanding between an employee and supervisor.”
It’s a trend that more and more companies are testing not only in Sweden, but around the world, too. The Latin American search engine elMejorTrato.com moved to a 32-hour workweek over five years ago and hasn’t looked back, as it’s seen productivity grow by 204 percent. Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, Theory and J Brand, announced recently that it will be offering some of its employees a four-day workweek as part of an experimental trial.
“Why should people be cut off from their children, from the people they love, for so many hours a day because of the way the market is structured?” Coote said. “It’s not fair. It’s not right.”
Posted today on the facebook page ‘The People Vs The Government, DWP and Atos’
Lets be honest here, the only way that potential employers are going to employ disabled people willingly is if there is an extra incentive.
If you have the option of two people. One who is perfectly healthy, physically fit and capable; and the other who is hypothetically in a wheelchair, joints popping in and out of location, bruises easily, throws up a lot, problems focusing, energy lacking, memory issues, can’t do simple tasks without repetition and support from someone else; who are you really going to choose?
I have a lot of the disabilities that I’ve listed in the second paragraph. I wouldn’t choose me. The only way that disabled people are going to face equality in the work place in the job market is if the Government/council offer them a financial incentive to…
When I qualified from my master’s degree in social work with distinction last November, I would never have predicted that, after two years’ hard study, I would be cleaning in a residential children’s home.
I have always been a hands-on type of person, but I feel my skills and qualifications are not being put to good use. I feel frustrated as I know that I am more than capable of being a good social worker –doing a job I really love, and supporting children and families in crisis –particularly when I hear they’re in such short supply. …………………’
So much is being said or not said in this article. Yes it indicates that newly qualified social workers are having difficulties finding social work positions, even though social workers were leaving positions and therefore there was a demand for others to replace them. But the authorities were requesting social workers with at least 1 years operational experience to apply.
What was not said was why social workers were leaving, but this could be due to retirement and so not being available on the job market. Was it stress related and therefore they may wish to progress down a different job track. It could also be down to austerity cuts, but then this would limit the amount of vacancies available and could mean the authorities wishing to recruit could assume there was a large pool of experienced qualified social workers looking for new positions, thus this would be making it difficult for newly qualified social workers to apply.
But sooner or later the pool of experienced social workers will diminish, so the newly qualifield have to be given the opportunity to gain this experience. Then will the newly qualified still be there, for if it is seen that there are no prospects for newly qualified, this could mean many will not even consider this area to gain qualifications.
So then what would be done, would this be another area where will try to recruit from abroad, not only would they not have the expeience and if they had it would not be UK experience.
This, all in the long term, is only going to cause extreme problems, as can be seen from other occupations that have already been through these similar situations.
Now is the time to consider all options, not in the future.
‘People with autism can often be incredibly hardworking when they put their minds to a task – whether this is a full-time job, or just a hobby. A lot of the time they don’t like to rest until the job is completely done, and often have a great eye for detail (more on this in a later article) Even though there are a lot of issues regarding people with autism and employment, -in terms of not enough autistic people being in work – there are actually a lot of positive traits autistic workers can bring to any job. The simple fact of being hardworking is probably the most basic of these. ……………’
This post by Paddy-Joe Moran is highlighting some of the positives relating to autism. This is good for in the UK and possibly elsewhere, any form of disability is deemed to be associated with negativity, especially from the Government and the media. This then creates this impression on some of the general public, who then only feel negative to disability. The Government and media in the UK generally associate disability, especially those on benefits to be scroungers. While there will be some scroungers in the UK, this is not related to benefits, but is down to the mindset of the persons who scrounge, for they would do so whether they be on benefits or not. For them benefits are just a medium and not a necessity, which they are for many people who are disabled to lead a reasonable, constructive and beneficial life, not only for them, but for others around them and Society. For some the only way they can work is by using the benefits they receive to enable them to go to and do the work they wish to do.
An extract ‘Employment and support allowance (ESA) medicals – work capability assessments (WCAs) – are being used to make decisions about eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP), a government minister has confirmed.
Benefits and Work also has evidence that the reverse is true: existing ESA awards are being looked at again and changed on the basis of a PIP medical report.
What’s more, in an effort to reduce the PIP backlog, many thousands of decisions are being made by temporarily promoted DWP staff who aren’t really decision makers at all. ……………’