The first day of May is internationally celebrated as Labour Day, so let’s take a moment to honour and commemorate those who have struggled and advocated for better working conditions and let’s work harder to create a no-discrimination and safer workplaces for everyone.
We as today’s workers can enjoy around 40-45 hours of work a week (8-9 hours daily), receive minimum wages, social and health benefits, and paid leaves thanks to those who worked hard for these changes in the past.
Does this mean that the work is done for us? As the world is constantly changing, we also need to adapt. There are still works to do to cultivate healthier working conditions. What are those?
International Workers’ Day illustration inspired by Frederick Douglass.
Source: Facebook CWA Local 1033
1. Environmentally-friendly industries
As the climate change poses a threat to everything on earth, we can start by adapting environmentally-friendly policies in our offices. Things like reducing carbon footprints, unplugging devices when not used, maximising natural light, minimising the use of papers and plastic wrappings, as well as giving back to the environment through social works and charities can help.
Except for artificial intelligence, all workers are humans and not machine or robots. Sometimes we get tired, we underperform, or we have health issues that could affect our performance. The best way to handle this is to treat our coworkers sympathetically.
3. Open the door
Open more opportunities for people with physical challenges. Try to connect with NGOs that empower people with physical challenges to see if we can give some training and eventually employ them.
4. Stand up against discrimination, harassment, or alleged abuse
Discrimination in workplaces can be in any forms: race, skin colour, ethnicity, gender, or other social backgrounds. Harassment and abuse can also happen in verbal or written forms, from microaggression, bullying, to sexual misconduct. If anything like this happens in the workplace, please stand with the victim and bring up the issue to people team or the higher management.
5. Support career advancement
A good workplace should not only obligate us to come to work and get paid. Trainings and opportunities to learn new skills that can be beneficial to our careers are also important.
6. Interns are workers, too
The year is 2021 and we should have moved past the mindset that interns are paid with working experience. As they usually do a portion of work for the company, they should also receive payment and benefits.
7. Working overtime is not to be glorified
Some still think that working as long as possible, whether it is at the office or from home, is a sign of dedication, while it could be stressful and detrimental to our health in the long run. Remember that burnout is not a badge of honour. Instead, try using our regular working time as effectively and as efficiently as possible so we don’t have to carry the workload to home, to later hours, or to the following days.
8. Leaves are for taking a break
People who are on a leave should take a good rest without their workloads looming over their heads. Whether the employees are single, married, or have children and family of their own, their leaves are for them to use.
9. Medical benefits for workers
This should be of a top priority especially for high-risk jobs. Not only should it cover physical injuries, it will be ideal if the medical benefits also provides support for psychological treatment.
There should be a clear understanding between the employees and the employers regarding the company’s policy. Policies made should be socialised before applied to allow for any input from the employees.
11. Support for working parents
The needs of working parents, especially mothers, to care for their children as well as provide for the family are often neglected. Instead, we can try to support the parents by allowing a place for children in the office, providing nursing room, or flexible parental leaves for both mothers and fathers.
12. Empower women
There are still many issues related to women and those who identify as women in the workplaces, whether it is discriminative treatment, unequal opportunities, or even pay gap. We could try to allocate a certain percentage of female employees especially in the role of decision-making.
Those are what we can suggest to improve our working conditions. Try to propose them to the people management team in the company that we are working for to see if we can make any changes.