Working five days a week is a thing of the past, says writer

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We will never go back to the office again – at least not five days a week. That is the assertion of Anne Helen Petersen, author of the book “Out of the office: revealing the power and potential of hybrid work”.

“You can try to figure out flexible arrangements now, or you can battle it out with your employees for the next 5 to 10 years and then pay a consultant a lot of money to help you figure out what you should have started to figure out 5 to 10 years ago. ”, she stated.

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Petersen believes that the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally reoriented our relationship with work in a way that companies are only now beginning to fully understand.

🇧🇷[As pessoas] they don’t want to be forced back into the office two days a week and it’s not a time when their co-workers are there. And then they’re going back to this ghost office and it seems totally arbitrary answering emails from an office as opposed to answering emails from the comfort of your home,” she said.

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While it seems like the five-day, 40-hour work week has always been with us, it’s actually a relatively new invention.

Even in the 20th century, for example, it was considered normal to work on Saturdays – in addition to the usual five days a week.

As early as 1866, the United States Congress considered mandating a 40-hour workweek, but the legislation stalled. In 1926, Henry Ford instituted a 40-hour workweek for his employees, believing it to be the ideal amount of time for someone to work in a week.

Congress eventually mandated that employers pay workers overtime if they worked more than 44 hours a week in 1938. When the law was implemented in 1940, it was reduced to a maximum of 40 hours.

But the 40-hour work week was – and is – routinely violated by wage earners (and their bosses) who believe that working harder is working better. “A lot of times, working those incredibly long hours is a sign of dedication, devotion… a sign that you should be promoted,” said Petersen. “As much as people talk about the sanctity of the 40-hour workweek, they don’t talk about the fact that we already violated it.”

The pandemic — in which bosses forced their employees to stay home for fear of spreading the virus — has, according to Petersen and other labor experts, fundamentally altered the way we think about the office and the workweek in general.

“If you think about it, your contract with your employee isn’t just about buying time,” Charlotte Lockhart, an advocate of a four-day workweek, told me. “You’re buying them doing something with that time – a productive outcome. It doesn’t matter if they are manufacturing, in hospitality, working in healthcare or working in an office, what they are looking at is how we define productivity in our business.”

In other words: work smarter, not harder.

The question facing bosses now is whether they want to reinstate employees going to the office five days a week because that’s how they did it pre-pandemic, or whether they want to actively explore the possibility of flextime or even four days a week to better fit. to the lives of its workers.

“It’s not that it means everyone needs to be fully remote,” Petersen explained. “I think a lot of times this conversation becomes very polarized or binary in terms of [se] everyone should always be at the office or everyone should always be at home. Most people want a hit that’s somewhere in between.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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