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

Poor jobs have left millions out of the workforce completely, apparently resulting in a labor shortage that has become a raison d’être for hiring managers. During the Great Resignation, a record number of Americans left their jobs due to burnout, low wages, childcare, elderly care…you name it.

To lure people back into the labor market, employers raised their salaries. But inflation wiped out that, and then wiped out some of it, so that didn’t work. Chiefs have allowed some of us to work from home, but this is a feature many offices are starting to call again as people become less afraid of Covid.

So here’s a crazy solution: let people work less. I know it sounds extreme. But it turns out that the workers are really interested in the idea, and they are more productive.

Over the past eight weeks, thousands of people in the UK have tested the four-day schedule – without any cut to their pay, my colleague Anna Cuban reports. It’s the world’s largest four day work week experience so far. Unsurprisingly, some workers said they feel happier, healthier and do better at their jobs.
During similar experiments between 2015 and 2019 in Iceland, there was no decrease in productivity among workers for four days – and a significant increase in employee well-being. When Microsoft experimented with a shorter work week in Japan in 2019, it found productivity rose nearly 40%.

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

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that we would be working 15 hours a week by 2030, with office hours ending over time. But the 40-hour weekly work was tough by unions across America, and it was kind of… stuck. 9 to 5, Monday to Friday has become the norm, and over time it has become difficult for companies and workers to think differently.

You can give your boss all the data you want, but you’re unlikely to have much success in convincing management that the way to increase productivity and solve the labor shortage is to give everyone a Friday off, for good.

my intakes: As a relatively modest people manager, I understand both sides.

Alison (as you know) is a fierce advocate of a four-day work week, and if only I had the strength, I would make it for her. And with the endless meetings that could have been emails, along with 3PM EST and pursuing “The Bachelor” with my co-workers, I’m sure that adds up to a full day of the week where productivity is zero. virtually. I’m happy to cut that out to spend more time with my family or whatever.

But – and hear me on this – what if we just started making the business better? I’m not saying this just because my bosses read this (bosses!), but the work should be a satisfying project where we feel like we’re accomplishing something important and meaningful in our lives. Whether it’s saving the planet or cleaning toilets, work is essential. Good companies must provide a positive environment for employees to grow and feel that they are doing something valuable.

Instead, too often, companies put fools like me in charge, because they don’t know what else to do with people, so they make them managers. Anyway, this was fun, but let’s get back to work, Alison! These stories will not write themselves.

Today’s number: 53.6 million

This is the number of metric tons of e-waste the world disposed of in 2019, according to the latest data from the United Nations. Only 17.4% of that was recycled, my colleague Katherine Thorbeck reported.

Some types of confusion

Gross cat food. It smells weird, it’s overly greasy, and let’s be honest, it seems like something that should come out – not go in.

However, for some illegal reason, Purina is opening a restaurant inspired by cat food for humans in New York this month.

The dishes at Gatto Bianco, Purina’s Italian spin-off trattoria, are supposedly inspired by Fancy Feast’s new “Medleys” cat food line. Medleys includes options such as “beef with tomatoes and pasta in a delicious sauce,” which, as my colleague Zoe Sutil points out, are designed for cats with a distinct flair.

Just a note about fancy cat food for a minute: My cats routinely drank from the toilet, licked their anus in public and left dead rodents on the bed, so, like these don’t quite end up being schoolboys. I’m all in favor of keeping your cat healthy, but “Beef and Pork Milanese with Potatoes and Carrots in Delicious Smoothies” looks like it’s going to be lost on the public.

I understand what Purina is trying to do here: It’s a meal so delicious, you’ll even eat it! But there’s a reason to feed my pets (relatively) inexpensive food out of a can: Because they are animals, and I’ve seen them eat a dead squirrel’s carcass and act happier than anything I’ve ever fed them before.

Enjoying Nightcap? Participation And you’ll get all of this, plus some other funny stuff we’ve loved on the internet, in your inbox every night. (Well, most Nights – As we painstakingly put it, we believe in a four-day work week here.)

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