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  • Writer's pictureJames Eves

Unf*cking Work: The Unf*ckit List 2023

Updated: Mar 8

Happy New Year to our Pirate comrades!

For the first podcast of the New Year, we’ve started as we mean to go on - by outlining our Unf*ckit List for 2023!

There are plenty of outdated and toxic work practices and ideas that need to be dismantled, and here are our top picks of the things that have the best chance of unfucking work over the next 12 months and beyond.

4-day work week

Longtime listeners of the Unf*cking Work podcast will know that the 4-day work week is something that we are very passionate about. This initiative is quickly gaining popularity across the UK, with a further 100 companies pledging to try the shorter week at the end of last year.

Next month, the results of one of the largest UK studies on the 4-day week are expected to confirm what we already know - that it improves engagement, productivity and energy levels.

Far from being simply ‘part time’, the 4-day week is a full culture shift, where a reduction of hours doesn’t equal a loss of pay. For employers who want to attract talent in 2023, embracing this new way of working should be a serious consideration.

Collective action

The end of 2022 saw workers strike across a range of sectors, including the largest ever nurses’ strike since the NHS was founded. Rapid inflation rises and wage stagnation have continued to breed discontent among workers, who quite rightly want to be paid a liveable wage for their services.

Without trade unions, we wouldn’t have so many of the staple benefits of work that we’ve come to take for granted such as sick leave, a 2-day weekend, paid holidays, health and safety measures and many more.

Historic industrial action is responsible for many of the rights we have as workers today.

Capitalism wants humans to be used as dispensable resources, so in order to unfuck work unions are a must. In 2023 we need to embrace the collective voice and fight for our rights.

As well as unions, movements such as Enough Is Enough and Pregnant Then Screwed show that through collaboration we can create real and lasting change.

Strengths-based culture

Many companies profess to incorporate strengths-based training and development into their processes, but how much of this is actually done?

The hard truth is: a lot of businesses tend to have a weaknesses-focused culture, where areas of improvement are highlighted and development is a one-size-fits-all approach.

In 2023, truly understanding an individual’s own strengths and empowering people to tap into what they’re good at will put employers ahead of the curve.

Looking at people holistically - as a person as well as an employee - is the key to unlocking strengths. Research has repeatedly shown that building on strengths can result in increased sales and profits as well as reduced staff turnover.

End to fear-based management

When workers are pitted against each other in a dog-eat-dog environment and are constantly under pressure to over-perform, how can they have psychological safety?

Companies may benefit from short-term bursts of activity but a culture of fear is not sustainable in the long term. A hamster wheel of stress and burnout is the perfect formula for high employee turnover and repeated loss of top talent.

In 2023 employee wellbeing is going to be more of a priority than ever before, so doing things the old way - and accepting psychological harm as an inevitability - simply won’t work anymore

The truth is, while a short stint in a high-pressure role might give a person’s CV a boost, it’s rarely worth the subsequent harm to their health, relationships and quality of life.

If we’re going to unfuck work then fear-based management has to go, making way for a more humane, intuitive and value-led leadership revolution.

What do you think is needed to unfuck work in 2023? Check out our list here and add your thoughts!

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