I’m a boss, and I say we should work less

Poor jobs have driven millions of people out of the workforce altogether, creating a seemingly perpetual labor shortage that has become the bane of hiring managers’ existence. During the Great Resignation, a record number of Americans quit their jobs because of burnout, low pay, child care, elder care… you name it.

To entice people back into the workforce, employers raised wages. But inflation erased all that and more, so it didn’t work. Bosses have let some of us work from home, but it’s a benefit that many offices have started to recall as people become less afraid of Covid.

So here’s a crazy solution: let people work less. I know, that sounds radical. But it turns out the workers are really into it AND they’re more productive.

Over the past eight weeks, thousands of people in the UK have trialled a four-day schedule – with no pay cut, my reports his colleague Anna Cooban. It’s the the biggest lawsuit in the world of a four-day work week so far. Not surprisingly, some workers said they felt happier, healthier and more successful at their jobs.
In similar tests between 2015 and 2019 in Iceland, there was no drop in productivity among four-day workers – and a dramatic increase in employee well-being. When Microsoft tried a shorter workweek in Japan in 2019, it found productivity increased by almost 40%.

So who do we have to fight to get a three-day weekend here? It turns out the answer may be inertia.

In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted we would work 15 hours a week by 2030, with office hours decreasing over time. But the 40-hour workweek has been fought hard by unions across America, and it’s just kinda… stuck. A 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, Monday through Friday, has become the norm, and over time it has become difficult for companies and workers to think differently.

You can present your boss with all the data you want, but you’re unlikely to be able to convince management that the way to increase productivity and solve the labor shortage is to give everyone world on a Friday off, forever.

MY OPINION : As a relatively low on the totem people manager, I understand both sides.

Allison (as you know) is a strong advocate of a four-day work week, and if only I had the power, I would make it happen for her. And with endless, constant meetings that could have been emails, combined with an off hour at 3 p.m. and catching up on “The Bachelor” with work buddies, I’m sure it adds up to a full day during my week where my productivity is effectively zero. I would gladly cut that off to spend more time with my family or whatever.

But – and listen to me on this – what if we just start by improving the job? I’m not just saying this because my bosses are reading this (hi bosses!), but work should be a fulfilling endeavor where we feel like we’re accomplishing something big and meaningful in our lives. Whether it’s saving the planet or cleaning toilets, hard work is needed. And good companies should provide a positive environment for employees to grow and feel like they’re doing something worthwhile.

Instead, too often companies put morons like me in charge, because they don’t know what else to do with people, so they make managers of them. Anyway, it’s been fun, but let’s get back to work, Allison! These stories are not going to write themselves.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 53.6 million

That’s the number of metric tons of e-waste the world threw away in 2019, according to the most recent data from the United Nations. Only 17.4% of that was recycled, my colleague Catherine Thorbecke reports.

A KIND OF MEOW MIX-UP

Cat food is disgusting. It smells weird, it’s too greasy and, let’s be honest, it looks like something that should come out – not go in.

Yet, for some ungodly reason, Purina is opening a cat food-inspired restaurant for humans in New York this month.

Dishes at Gatto Bianco, Purina’s pop-up Italian-style trattoria, are said to have been inspired by the new “Blendsrange of cat foods. Mixes include options such as “beef stew with tomatoes and pasta in a savory sauce”, which, as my colleague Zoe Sottile noticedis designed for the cat with a demanding taste.
Cat lovers can try cat food-inspired dishes at Fancy Feast's Italian pop-up

Just a note about fancy cat food for a minute: my cats regularly drank from the toilet, licked their anuses in public, and left dead rodents on the bed, so, like, they’re not exactly graduates of the graduating school. I’m all for keeping your cat healthy, but “Beef and Pork Milanaise with Potatoes and Carrots in Savory Juices” seems to be lost on the public.

I get what Purina is trying to do here: it’s a meal so delicious you’d even eat it! But there’s a reason I feed my pets (relatively) cheap food out of a box: because they’re animals, and I’ve seen them eat a dead squirrel carcass and act happier. than with anything I’ve ever given them.

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