Is the Five-Day Work Week Dying?

“The traditional idea of going to the office five days a week or working 9 to 5 may be dying,” reports the Washington Post:Zoom, which many workplaces and workers relied on during the pandemic, is starting to allow its more than 6,000 workers to choose whether to work in the office, work remotely, or go hybrid, as in working remotely a certain number of days per week or month at their choosing. Bolt, a San Francisco-based e-commerce start-up boldly introduced a permanent four-day workweek for its nearly 600 employees. Workplace communications platform Slack is reimagining its office primarily as a gathering place for meetings and projects. And tech giants Amazon and Salesforce are allowing their employees to decide as a team when and where they should work, based on the projects at hand.

These approaches come as companies rethink workplace policies amid the fast spread of the omicron variant and the “Great Resignation,” during which employers are finding it more difficult to retain talent. U.S. office occupancy dipped to about 28 percent during the third week of January, compared to 40 percent in November before the massive spread of the omicron variant, according to building security company Kastle Systems. Still, some employers see this as an opportunity to rethink the way employees have traditionally worked, opting for even more flexible and creative arrangements that are more likely to lure and retain workers….

Jennifer Christie [Bolt’s chief people officer] said after piloting the policy last year, 91 percent of managers and 94 percent of employees wanted to continue. They also reported increased productivity and better work-life balance. Meanwhile, the start-up has been inundated with resumes and emails from people interested in working for the company, Christie said. “People want to be empowered and have autonomy to do work in a way that fits them,” Christie said. “That’s going to be where talent is attracted….”

The one thing the Kickstarter union workers agree on is the desire for the four-day workweek. “I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t listened to some recruiters from places that already implemented a four-day workweek,” said Dannel Jurado [a member of Kickstarter United, which is part of the Office and Professional Employees International Union].