Can sustainability be intrinsic part of our work life?
I am The Sustainabilist, Opinion Piece
March 8, 2020, 4:25 pm
Over the last half century, one of the key focus among various working white collar professionals across industries is to explore significant increases of productivity leading to increase in total output value. From a macro economic perspective, such productivity is primarily linked to technology based automation and various innovations. However, we often forget the human mind behind productivity; the mind which thrives under certain conducive environments and decays under stress as well as long work hours. As a result, over the last decade, many workplace innovations have been implemented which have tried to resolve some of the difficult issues. These measures include work from home, flexible schedules and various other close emotional engagements with the human aspect of an employee. These endeavors not only increases the productivity of an employee with an refreshed mind but also makes the employee-employer relationship sustainable. Currently many top organizations are toying and experimenting with the idea of 3 days weekend by making the workplace far smarter than it is now. Initial results have been encouraging in stressful work environments like Japan. Working lesser hours but in a smart productive way is definitely step towards the future state of the world driven by seamless automation and artificial intelligence. Ultimately the objective of all improvements is to make human life happier and productive.
We take a step further on this.
How about encouraging, incentivizing and helping channelize some of the energy of the smart people who now have a little bit more time under the new work environment into sustainable work projects towards society and environment. The employer can now become associated with the higher self actualizing aspirations of the employee by suggesting some of the projects that he/she can devote time to. Often many sustainable initiatives have adequate funding but not enough smart working hands for help. This can change. The employers can sponsor select projects and also direct manpower towards them. The annual appraisal of an employee performance can be linked to how the employee engagement and positive contribution has been towards the chosen sustainable project. The idea is to measure a person in work and add this to his/her direct effort contribution towards broader society. This is the true future state of society where individuals work smartly towards productivity maximizing profits of a corporate and also channelize energy towards maximizing social equity by engagement into a sustainable projects. They can do this now only because their time gets freed up through a shorter (4 day) work week. And the fifth work day off always can be managed as a different day for each employee so that the entire work place is not vacated on any specific weekday but still everybody can enjoy a 3 day weekend. This is possible in a smart work place.
What better place to start experimenting on such initiatives than the Dubai Government offices themselves? Leading the way and taking the happiness quotient higher all across can be the government employees themselves. There may be occasional mishaps but a directing a huge untapped potential into the social and environment causes could ultimately be the winning proposition for others to follow.