Why the “coronavirus is ‘accelerating’… a major shift toward the shorter workweek”

Miriam Berger at The Washington Post asks, “Will the coronavirus pandemic open the door to a four-day workweek?”

One interesting point was made by Henley Business School professor Karen Jansen. Berger writes that “before the pandemic,” Jansen

estimated a major shift toward the shorter workweek wouldn’t happen before 2030. Now, she said, the coronavirus is “accelerating” that timeline.

“It used to be that flexible work arrangements were a bit stigmatized,” she said. “Those negatives I think are going away. Covid has had a leveling effect.”

“This experience has taught us that we don’t have to have a one-size-fits-all model for everyone,” Jansen added. “The question, I think, is who is going to go back to the old way.”

It does seem to me that between the many companies that have already done it (which I detail in my book SHORTER), Jacinda Ardern and Nicola Sturgeon talking about the benefits of a 4-day week during their reopening announcements, the growing recognition that we need to both reopen smartly and quickly AND prepare for the next wave (and next pandemic, and next emergency), and the sense that the last few weeks have shown that things we thought were impossible are in fact doable, that the ground is tilting toward wider adoption of the 4-day week.

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