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[综合] 英语十分钟/打破时钟的枷锁,做回时间的主人

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发表于 2020-11-3 18:59:23 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
英语十分钟/打破时钟的枷锁,做回时间的主人
   来自:经济学人

    Two hundred years ago, a device began to dominate the world of work. No, not the steam engine—the gadget was the clock. With the arrival of the factory, people were paid on the basis of how many hours they worked, rather than their material output.
   In the “puttingout” system that prevailed before the factory era, merchants would deliver cloth to be woven, spun, stitched or cut to a worker’s home. Each worker would then be paid for the items they produced. That gave the weavers and spinners freedom to work when it was convenient. At the factory, in contrast, workers were required by the owner to turn up for a set shift.
   The tyranny of time was marked by a number of innovations. As few workers owned watches or clocks in the 19th century, people known as “knocker-uppers” would roam the streets rapping on doors and windows to wake workers at the right time. Later, factories would use hooters and whistles to signal the start and end of shifts, and employees would punch in and out using a time clock.
   Eventually, as workers moved farther away from their place of employment, the power of the clock led to daily rush hours, as millions headed to and from work. Often they paid a penalty in terms of time wasted in traffic jams or awaiting delayed trains.
  The clock’s authoritarian rule may at last be weakening. Flexible working existed well before the pandemic. But it only offered employees the ability to choose when in the day they worked their allotted hours. Remote working has brought a greater degree of freedom.
   A survey of 4,700 home-workers across six countries commissioned by Slack, a corporate-messaging firm, found that flexible working was viewed very positively, improving both people’s work-life balance and productivity. Flexible workers even scored more highly on a sense of “belonging” to their organisation than those on a nine-to-five schedule.
It is hardly surprising that workers prefer flexibility. Working a rigid eight-hour schedule is incredibly restricting. Those are also the hours when most shops are open, when doctors and dentists will take appointments, and when repairmen are willing to visit.
   Parents on a conventional routine may be able to take their children to school in the morning but are unlikely to be able to pick them up in the afternoon. Many families find themselves constantly juggling schedules and giving up precious holiday time todeal with domestic emergencies.
  On reflection, it is also not too shocking that home-workers feel they are more productive. After all,few people have the ability to concentrate solidly for eight hours at a stretch. There are points in the day where people are tempted to stare out of the window or go for a walk; these may be moments when they find inspiration or recharge themselves for the next task. When they do this in an office, they risk the boss’s disapproval; at home, they can work when they are most motivated.
   Remote working is not possible for everyone, of course. There is a long list of industries, from emergency services to hospitality and retail, where people need to turn up to their place of work. But for many office workers, remote working is perfectly sensible.
   They may maintain some fixed points in the week (staff meetings, for example) but perform many of their tasks at any time of the day—or night. Office workers can now be paid for the tasks they complete rather than the time they spend (which firms would have to monitor by spying on people at home).
   What is striking about Slack’s study is the widespread nature of support for home-working. Overall, just 12% of theworkers surveyed wanted to return to a normal office schedule. In America black, Asian and Hispanic employees were even more enthusiastic than their white colleagues.
   Women with children were generally keen, reporting an improvement in their work-life balance—though a gap exists between discontented American women and those in other countries,who are much happier (the availability of state-subsidised child care helps explain the difference).
   Of course, the new schedule carries dangers: people may lose all separation between work and home life, and succumb to stress. To inject some human contact, companies may embrace a hybrid model in which workers go into the office for part of the week. But overall office-workers’ freedom from time’s yoke is to be welcomed. The clock was a cruel master and many people will be happy to escape its dominion.

参考译文:

两百年前,一种设备开始主宰工作领域。不,不是蒸汽机,而是时钟这个小玩意儿。随着工厂的出现,人们按工作时长拿报酬,而不是他们的实际产出。
在工厂时代到来前盛行的“散工制”中,工人们会在家中对商人送来的布匹进行裁剪缝制,并根据实际产出获得相应的报酬。这为织布工和纺纱工自由安排提供了便利。然而在工厂里,老板要求工人按规定轮班到厂里工作。
时间的统治以一系列发明创造为标志。19世纪,很少有工人拥有钟表,因此那些“叫醒工”会走过大街小巷,准时敲打工人的门窗,叫醒他们。后来,工厂开始使用鸣笛声和口哨声分别作为一轮班次开始和结束的提示,工人们则利用考勤钟来上下班打卡。后来工厂分别用鸣笛和口哨声来提示一轮班次的开始和结束,工人们用考勤钟上下班打卡。
最终,工人们的住所离工作地点越来越远,时钟的力量推动了每日通勤高峰的出现,数以百万计的人们每天在同一时间上下班。由于交通堵塞或列车晚点,人们常常因上班迟到而被扣工资。
时钟的束缚或将日渐削弱。早在新冠肺炎疫情爆发前,弹性工作制就已存在。但它仅为员工提供了选择一天之中何时工作的权利。而远程办公则给予了更大的自由。
企业信息服务公司Slack 对来自6个国家的4700名在家办公者展开了一项调查,结果显示,弹性工作制反馈正面,因为它能让人们保持工作与生活的平衡,同时也能提高效率。在对公司的“归属感”方面,弹性工作制员工比朝九晚五的上班族得分更高。
工人们更喜欢灵活的工作模式,这不足为奇。严格的八小时工作制也使人深受束缚。这段时间是大多数商店营业的时间,是能够预约到医生和牙医的时间,同时也是维修师傅愿意上门服务的时间。
按照通常的作息时间,家长们也许早上能把孩子送到学校去,但下午通常不太可能接他们放学回家。纵观许多家庭,人们平日总是忙于日常工作,有时只得占用宝贵的假期时间来处理家中琐事。
仔细想想,在家办公者觉得效率更高,同样不足为奇。毕竟,很少有人能够连续8小时全神贯注地工作。一天之中总有些时候,人们会忍不住地想往窗外看,或是想出去散散步;这时候,他们或是在寻找灵感,或是在恢复精力以完成下一项工作任务。而在办公室这么做将会冒着被老板批评的风险;但在家中,人们可以在自己精力最充沛的时候工作。
当然,并不是每个人都能远程办公。从紧急服务到酒店和零售的许多行业,人们必须前往工作地点工作。但对于许多上班族来说,远程办公再合适不过了。
他们可能只需要每周抽出几个固定的时间前往办公室(例如开会),但可以自由选择在白天或晚上的任何时间来完成工作任务。这样一来,这些上班族便可以根据工作完成量而非工作时长计算薪酬(如果按工作时长来计,那么公司将不得不对在家的员工进行监视)。
在 Slack 公司的研究中,格外引人注目的一点是,人们普遍对在家办公表示支持,仅有12%的受访者表示希望回归正常的办公时间。在美国,黑人、亚裔和西班牙裔员工比白人员工更乐于在家办公。
育有子女的女性员工也是如此,她们表示,在家办公有助于维持工作与生活的平衡——尽管美国女性心存不满,与其他国家的女性有分歧,后者对工作与生活的平衡更为满意(产生分歧的原因可能在于国家的育儿补贴政策)。
当然,这种新的工作模式也有风险:人们或许很难将工作与生活分开,从而压力倍增。为了加强员工之间的人际交往,公司可能会采取一种混合模式,即让员工每周有一定的时间到办公室工作。但总的来说,摆脱时间的枷锁而重获自由是上班族们所乐见的。时钟是个残酷的主宰者,很多人乐于摆脱它的束缚。

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