Joe Pinsker on How Employers Are Changing Office Jobs

From a newsletter sent by The Atlantic:

Today, we invited Joe Pinsker—who often writes about how work affects our quality of life—to share a bit of insight into his reporting on how the pandemic has motivated some employers to change long-standing features of the 9-to-5 office job.

The phrase “the future of work” is so potent because everyone wants to know what it is, but by definition, it is never actually here. Yet during the upheaval of the past two years, the future of work—whatever it looks like—has felt just a bit closer than before.

As the world of work has been in flux, my coverage philosophy has been to zoom in on individual aspects of it and ask, Do we want to bring this with us into the future of work? Recently, this has led me to write about how offices are starting to look eerily more like homes and how the norm of responding quickly to emails and texts is completely unreasonable.

Another long-standing feature of work that’s currently being questioned is the structure of the workweek itself. Last year, I wrote about four-day workweeks and, basically, how much they’d improve our lives. I’m not expecting a four-day revolution quite yet, but, as so much about work shifts, this supposedly radical idea now feels more realistic than it did when I first wrote about it seven years ago. For instance, dozens of companies have signed up for a systematic, six-month trial run of a four-day schedule that will start later this year. In other words, now is a moment when businesses are taking seriously ideas that have previously been dismissed as impractical and idealistic.

Joe Pinsker

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