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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

    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.


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。
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。


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