Mar 31, 2022 - Podcasts

The 9-5 workday is fading

Covid didn’t just change where we work, it also changed when we work. The 9-5 workday is fading - some estimates suggest that 75% of all global companies now allow most employees to work from anywhere, with more time flexibility. And that can have benefits for both early birds and night owls.

  • Plus, the Biden administration is expected to end Title 42 by late May.
  • And, preparing for our new climate future.

Guests: Michelle Hackman, immigration reporter at The Wall Street Journal and Axios' Ben Geman and Erica Pandey

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Lydia McMullen-Laird, and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Thursday, March 31st.

I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Today, preparing for our new climate future. Plus, how the pandemic has altered when we work.

But first, officials warn of an influx of migrants at the US southern border – that’s our One Big Thing:

The Biden administration is delaying the end of Title 42 until late May - about two months after its previous end date. Title 42 is the public health policy that expels migrants at the border, implemented by the Trump administration during the pandemic. When it ends, border officials are anticipating a huge increase in migrants at the southern border.

Michelle Hackman is an immigration reporter at the Wall Street Journal. Hi Michelle.

MICHELLE HACKMAN: Hi, good to be here.

NIALA: You got an early look at this updated policy. What did it say about why they're ending Title 42?

MICHELLE: Sure, so I want to emphasize that the version I saw was not final. It was a version, you know, making its way through the final policy process. The CDC says in its order pretty clearly that, you know, “We issued this order because we were concerned that migrants could introduce COVID to immigration detention, could introduce COVID to the U.S. and now, we no longer consider that a significant risk.”

NIALA: So is there an increase in migrants that border officials are preparing for when Title 42 ends?

MICHELLE: You hit it, officials are preparing for an unprecedented surge. You know, migration right now makes a lot of sense sort of economically and politically because our economy is booming, right? It's doing great. We have all these job openings that are not being filled by Americans. Meanwhile, Latin America sort of contracted the most out of any region in the world and has all these unstable governments that are sending people, fleeing, you know, Cuba and Venezuela and Nicaragua. So it makes sense that there's a lot of push and pull going on that's a little unrelated also to whatever policy changes we’re announcing.

NIALA: And are we expecting that the migrants that we will see at the southern border will largely be from Central and South America?

MICHELLE: We're seeing an unprecedented and huge mix. So we're seeing really large numbers of single men from Mexico. You know, that's your really traditional migrant coming here in search of work. We're seeing large numbers from Central America, but we're seeing unprecedented numbers from South America and the Caribbean. On Tuesday a DHS official told us that about four in 10 migrants currently crossing the border are neither from Mexico or Central America. That's, you know, that's huge and a change from pretty much any other time in history.

NIALA: Given what you've said, does the Biden administration have a strategy in place, post-Title 42 to deal with this volume of people?

MICHELLE: This week, DHS officials briefed us to say they were starting to do basically tabletop exercises to prepare for what a really, really huge influx could look like. Already in March, we're about to hit, you know, more than 200,000 arrests at the border, which is probably a 22-year high. Think about that as maybe 7,000 arrests per day. And their tabletop exercises go up to 18,000 arrests a day. So they’re starting that prep work, but I think, the draft that I saw yesterday that delays the end of Title 42 by two months is really a reflection of the fact that DHS is just not ready to have this main enforcement mechanism taken away from it.

NIALA: Michelle Hackman covers immigration for the Wall Street Journal. Thanks Michelle.

MICHELLE: Thank you.

NIALA: In a moment, we answer your latest question on climate change.

[ad break]

BEN: Welcome back to Axios Today. I'm Niala Boodhoo. We've been making our way through your questions about climate change, which you can keep sending me. You can text them to me, at 202-918-4893. And I asked Axios’ energy reporter Ben Geman to answer this one, from Danielle in Salt Lake City.

DANIELLE: When I think about climate change and how it will shape the future for myself and my family, I think the biggest question that I find myself asking is: What do I need to do? What skills do I need to have? How do I need to prepare for a future that is unlike any that we've ever seen as a species?

BEN GEMAN: Hi, Danielle, it's a, it's a great question. And I think an important one after a year that has seen, you know, jarring cases of record heat and extreme weather. I mean, at a 30,000 foot level, I tend to think of climate resilience and adaptation and response to migration, say, that can be partially spurred by climate change, these are first and foremost questions for federal, state, and local policy makers. But you know, on an individual level, I think it's something that can be managed. Things like knowing about cooling centers and extreme heat or checking on neighbors and vulnerable friends and family and pets, during weather extremes. From a financial standpoint, if you're, you know, it's things like if you're planning to move looking into how insurers are perceiving risks in an area and how that affects premiums. Uh, if you're fortunate enough to have investments, it's making sure that they're not in industries or assets that are the types that are the most exposed to climate risks and damages. I think it's also things like being prepared for extremes that can affect energy and electric power at home. And so that's perhaps by having a backup generator or solar systems combined with battery storage, if that's something that's within financial reach. So, I mean, yes, climate change and extremes will happen. And as you point out, that is inevitable, but you know, I think preparation is very achievable as well.

NIALA: Ben Geman is an energy reporter for Axios.

Covid didn’t just change where we work, it also changed when we work. The 9-5 workday is fading… some estimates suggest that three-quarters of of all global companies now allow most employees to work from anywhere, with more time flexibility. And that can have benefits for both early birds and night owls. Here to explain is Axios business reporter Erica Pandey. Erica, how has the pandemic affected our working times?

ERICA PANDEY: So our society has long had these kind of baked-in advantages for early risers. You know, work starts early in the day. School starts early in the day. And the pandemic is starting to kind of erode that and make work asynchronous. And that's helping a lot of people who are night owls. A lot of work has changed to becoming more task oriented than time oriented. So, you know, managers saying, get that done, I'll leave when and where you do it up to you. And we're seeing this happening. I mean, people are logging on to their chat and email apps, Microsoft trends found this, earlier in the morning, kind of pre-breakfast and late after dinner. So people are doing work when they want to be doing work. Obviously there's work-life balance questions but a lot of the reader response we got to our story is that “I'm a night owl or I'm an early bird and I love not having to work in these confined hours of the day dictated by our Monday through Friday nine to five.” That's just not really a thing anymore.

NIALA: Erica, why are web more efficient or better workers at certain times, versus others?

ERICA: So I used to think it was a choice and it's not, it's actually very genetic. So each of us has a chronotype, which is like, kind of your own rhythm of when you would naturally fall asleep or wake up. And it's dictated by hundreds of genes that are expressed in your brain and your retinas, that kind of control this, like when you feel sleepy and when you're alert.

NIALA: What's your personal experience?

ERICA: So I have always kind of had a pretty normal wake up time, then I switched sometime mid pandemic to waking up kind of early. And I found that I really love the hours in the morning and now my consistently best work hours are before 8:00 AM.

And a lot of that is because I have time to myself. I, you know, really like to have time to work with no one else logging on and pinging me. It has really helped me a lot. This rhythm and routine, when it aligns with what your body naturally wants, really kills anxiety I found.

NIALA: So how do we get in touch with our internal clocks? Because that sounds difficult. I think some people even in the pandemic have not been able to do that.

ERICA: So, what I did was just try different wake-up times. I mean, I tried waking up earlier, tried waking up later and found, you know, by trial and error, what worked for me. But I know there are some great quizzes out there too, where you input your answers and it spits out, “Hey, maybe you should wake up at this time. Maybe you should go to bed at this time” and you can try that.

NIALA: Yeah, we will include a link in our show notes so everyone can get a sense of what their optimal sleep time is. Apparently my natural bedtime is around midnight. And you can find this and other stories from Erica in the nightly Finish Line newsletter. Thanks Erica.

ERICA: Thanks Niala.

One mind blowing note to end on today: NASA yesterday announced that the Hubble space telescope has spotted the most distant star ever seen. Light from the star took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth. Researchers have named it "Earendel," which means "morning star" in Old English.

I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

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