Better Life Lab-logo

Better Life Lab

Slate

Economists say the way we work has become so stressful it’s now the fifth leading cause of death. Our mission is to find a better way. Explore the art and science of living a full and healthy life with behavioral and social science researchers who can help us better understand what drives our human experiences, and how to change. Better Life Lab is a co-production from New America and Slate.

Economists say the way we work has become so stressful it’s now the fifth leading cause of death. Our mission is to find a better way. Explore the art and science of living a full and healthy life with behavioral and social science researchers who can help us better understand what drives our human experiences, and how to change. Better Life Lab is a co-production from New America and Slate.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Slate

Description:

Economists say the way we work has become so stressful it’s now the fifth leading cause of death. Our mission is to find a better way. Explore the art and science of living a full and healthy life with behavioral and social science researchers who can help us better understand what drives our human experiences, and how to change. Better Life Lab is a co-production from New America and Slate.

Language:

English


Episodes

The Future of Wellbeing in an Automated World

5/24/2022
This season of Better Life Lab, we’ve been taking a close look at work stress and the future of work and wellbeing. Parts of the American economy are looking tough for many workers — even “dystopian. People are quitting their jobs at record rates. We know what many of the problems are. Yet the fixes are not so simple. So on this closing episode of our fourth season, we ask: Are bad jobs an inherent part of the workplace — or can we actually do what it takes to make the jobs of the future...

Duration:00:45:25

The New Unemployment

5/17/2022
Being unemployed in the United States is bad for you. It’s bad for your mental, physical and emotional health. Bad for your family stability. Bad for your ability to survive. It’s just bad news, period. The research shows that 83 percent of laid-off workers develop a serious stress-related condition. And as we look at the future of work, that’s a problem for the American economy. Because one of the big questions about the American workplace is:What if, in the a future, we actually have less...

Duration:00:35:09

Is America Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?

5/10/2022
Michael Tubbs grew up in poverty. And when, at 26, he was elected mayor of his hometown, he decided to do something about it. And what he did in Stockton, California, no American mayor had done before. He started giving poor people cash. No strings attached. Stockton’s pilot program in Guaranteed Basic Income started lifting people out of poverty. It gave parents more time with their kids. And it was actually cost-effective. So as we look to the Future of Work and Wellbeing, could Guaranteed...

Duration:00:34:51

Technostress

5/3/2022
PTSD. Burnout. Depression. That’s what you get from a too stressful workplace. And — employers take note — you also get reduced commitment to work, and much higher costs. As workplaces have navigated the COVID pandemic, new technologies have amped those stresses to 11. Bossware. Tattleware. After-hours nastiness on Slack. Now there’s a whole different kind of “technostress” wearing on warehouse and retail workers, whose every movement is tracked and rated by algorithms. Researchers are only...

Duration:00:49:59

Working While Black

4/26/2022
The Civil Rights movement opened up new work opportunities for Black workers. But, decades later, African-Americans work disproportionately in low-wage jobs and are overrepresented in the jobs at highest risk of vanishing because of workplace automation. White workers, meanwhile, are 50 percent more likely to hold “future proof” jobs. These are the kind of jobs that build often on education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. And for those Black workers who do find a path to...

Duration:00:37:02

Sleepless in the Gig Economy

4/19/2022
With the advent of the New Deal, employers were expected to guarantee workers a measure of security — a fair wage, a reasonable number of hours, benefits like retirement and health insurance. Recent years have seen a rise in “non-standard” work arrangements — independent contractors and gig workers who work without benefits or job protections. Gig-work platforms offer workers the tantalizing promise of flexibility and freedom. Gig-work platforms make the tantalizing promise of flexibility...

Duration:00:28:41

Where Have All the Women Gone?

4/12/2022
Recently there’s been a dramatic shift in the American workforce: The “Great Resignation.” “The Big Quit.” In one year, more than 47 millions of people left their jobs. The majority were women. “It is horrible for our economy when millions of women exit the labor force,” says economist Michelle Holder, CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. While men have regained nearly all the jobs they lost since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still missing 2 million women. So where...

Duration:00:39:24

Caregiving in America — the Dignity Gap

4/5/2022
In the future, robots may take over tasks such as doling out medications. But no machine can raise a child or truly care for a disabled, ill or aging loved one. And home care jobs are projected to be among the fastest-growing jobs in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects care jobs will grow 33 percent by 2029. By some estimates, 70 percent of people over 65 soon will require long-term care. But care jobs are also, for the most part, poverty-wage jobs. They are low-paying,...

Duration:00:37:06

American Karoshi — the Problem with Work Stress

3/29/2022
In Japan, generations of workers have given their all to the code of Karoshi. It’s a word that literally means, “Work til you die." Few Americans know the word “Karoshi.” We don’t think it happens here. But the workplace now actually ranks as the fifth leading cause of death in America. To help us understand work stress better, we’re joined by the co-directors of the Healthy Work Campaign. Marnie Dobson and Peter Schnall. How do we shift from work being something that can make your life...

Duration:00:34:24

Rage Against the Machine

3/22/2022
As much as the media has been inundated with future of work stories that read like a Sci-Fi-like robot apocalypse, the future of work, in a very real sense, is already here. And what’s really at stake is inequality. The real question for the future of work is not whether automation, robots and AI will replace jobs - they will. And, if history is any guide, as-yet unimaginable jobs will be created. Over 60 percent of the jobs today didn’t exist in 1940, according to MIT researchers. The real...

Duration:00:35:44

Crisis Conversations: Essential stories — and essential lessons — from a year in crisis

12/12/2020
In this year-end edition of Crisis Conversations, Brigid and members of the Better Life Lab team reflect on the memorable stories, voices, and lessons learned from COVID-19. And we consider a bold new agenda for work-family justice and gender equity in 2021 and beyond. Host: Brigid Schulte, Director, Better Life Lab at New America Guests: Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow, Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at Better Life Lab Roselyn Miller, Policy Analyst, Better Life Lab Jahdziah St. Julien, Research...

Duration:00:25:40

Crisis Conversations: Setting Working Moms Back a Generation?

11/14/2020
Is the pandemic is setting women back a generation? Without reliable childcare and schools, an unprecedented number of working mothers have been forced to reduce their hours. Or have had to leave the workforce entirely. As Elizabeth Gedmark, vice president of A Better Balance said recently: “It’s not a question of whether women are set back in the workplace. It’s a question of how far back we will go: 10 years, 15 years, 20 years?” What needs to change NOW to staunch the hemorrhaging and...

Duration:00:30:59

Crisis Conversations: A Parents' Movement?

10/24/2020
The United States is an outlier among developed nations when it comes to supporting working families. Unlike other advanced economies, we offer no national public paid family leave, no publicly supported universal childcare, no requirements that employers offer flexible work and schedule control. Researchers and advocates have long lamented we don’t have these policies because the constituents who need them most – parents – are too stressed and busy to organize and demand them. Has COVID-19...

Duration:00:23:46

Crisis Conversations: Will 2020 be the year care becomes a bipartisan issue?

10/8/2020
What role will care and caregiving could play in the 2020 election. Pundits have long insisted that care issues like childcare, elder care and paid and unpaid caregiving are not “bread and butter” economic issues that move voters or swing elections. Will that change in this unprecedented time of COVID-19? Are voters beginning to see that care work is no longer just “women’s work,” but central to a functioning economy? And what difference could that make on Nov. 3? Host: Brigid Schulte,...

Duration:00:29:05

Crisis Conversations: Women and Leadership

8/29/2020
Kamala Harris just made history as the first woman of color nominated for national office by a major party. So why, after so much time and money have been spent on diversity initiatives, and on women’s leadership conferences and the like, are there still so few women — particularly women of color — in leadership positions in politics, in academia, and in American business? Join us as women leaders and thinkers share what needs to change to create space for more diverse women leaders, and to...

Duration:00:31:57

Crisis Conversations: Woke at Work?

8/22/2020
After the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police sparked a racial justice reckoning, many American organizations put up Black Lives Matter signs. Many put out statements committing to tear down structural racism and build diverse, equitable and inclusive cultures at work. The trick is — how exactly do you do that? These business and organizational leaders have some ideas. Host: Brigid Schulte, Director, Better Life Lab at New America Guests: Melonie Parker, Chief...

Duration:00:27:20

Crisis Conversations: Will COVID Kill Work-Life Balance?

8/15/2020
In the era of coronavirus, the notion of work-life balance can seem a dream for those who still have work. But the gut-it-out model is bad for workers, virtual and otherwise, and bad for employers. Host Brigid Schulte talks with behavioral science workers at ideas42 — a nonprofit that seeks to use behavioral science insights to improve lives and drive social change. We'll hear about efforts at ideas42 to research and re-design workplace culture in an innovative pilot project ideas42 is...

Duration:00:28:29

Crisis Conversations: Family Caregiving

8/8/2020
One American in five takes care of another family member or loved one. That's more than 53 million family caregivers in America. Members of this vast, largely invisible workforce were already under pressure prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Many were forced to choose between inflexible or unsupportive work environments, and caring for loved ones who need care. These caregivers are not supported by public policy – the emergency paid family leave law Congress passed last spring actually...

Duration:00:27:31

Crisis Conversations: Childcare Reckoning

8/1/2020
Schools, summer camps and childcare centers are closed — and many may not reopen until next year. How are parents supposed to manage work, childcare and homeschooling? The childcare crisis is about to become even more acute, as many parents who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have already exhausted the temporary 12-week paid leave Congress passed in early spring. What will it take to build a truly high-quality, universal system that benefits everyone? Host: Brigid Schulte, Director,...

Duration:00:33:30

Crisis Conversations: Working pregnant in the time of COVID.

7/25/2020
Pregnant workers already face discrimination on the job, Before the pandemic struck, the United States was the only advanced nation without a national paid maternity or parental leave policy. Now, pregnant workers have to navigate workplaces that pose real infection risks — often without recourse. Delivering a child in the pandemic has become fraught and isolating. And for many new moms whose low-wage jobs are considered "essential," the emergency paid leave law Congress passed doesn’t even...

Duration:00:27:56