In Brief: the End of Remote Work; the 4-Day Workweek

May 2023
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Signs That the Work-From-Home Boom Is Going Bust

After years of working from home since the pandemic, fewer employees now have that option, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. 

As Gizmodo reports, 72.5% of private-sector workplaces had “little or no telework” in August and September 2022, compared to 12.5% from July to September 2021. Workplaces that have a portion of their employees working from home fell to 16.4% in 2022, down from 29.8% in 2021. 

Just 11.1% of employers had all of their employees working from home in 2022, up slightly from 10.3%  in 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds. According to a McKinsey survey, 87% of employees would accept an offer to work from home at least one day a week. 

Some businesses no longer allow telework, notably in big tech. In February, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced employees must start appearing at the office by May 1. Apple is also cracking down on remote work, reportedly taking employee attendance through badge swipes. 

As Part of a Pilot Program, Companies Try 4-Day Workweek

To test a four-day workweek, 60 companies recently took part in a six-month pilot program, HRDive reports. According to 4 Day Week Global, a New Zealand-based not-for-profit and advocacy group, 91% of the companies plan to continue with shorter workweeks.

During the pilot program, revenue at the participating companies increased by 35% compared to the same period a year earlier, while absenteeism decreased, said Dale Whelehan, a behavior scientist and CEO of 4 Day Week Global.

The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, reintroduced in Congress March 1 by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), would establish a standard workweek of 32 hours, after which nonexempt workers would receive overtime pay. The legislation presents an “opportunity to make common-sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era,” Takano said. 

Companies such as Kickstarter, Buffer and Sysco have adopted four-day workweeks. By eliminating unnecessary meetings and processes, said Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor, “I can accomplish … as much or more in a shorter workweek.”

Should You Post About a Layoff on LinkedIn?

As layoffs spread from the tech sector to other industries, including financial services, retail and manufacturing, some people who’ve lost their jobs are announcing that news on LinkedIn. 

If your company is undergoing well-publicized layoffs, “your connections will empathize when they read that you were affected,” Heidi Ravis, a career counselor based in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., tells MarketWatch.

Other career experts caution against making a public statement on LinkedIn, especially if you’re a senior executive. Janet Andrews, a career coach based in Carlsbad, Calif., encourages clients to boost their networking, contact recruiters, connect with executives at desired companies and attend events hosted by professional associations.

If you decide to post about a job loss on LinkedIn, don’t rush it, MarketWatch recommends. To avoid saying something you might regret, wait a week or two for your emotions to settle first. Then, keep your post brief. Don’t vent. Compliment your co-workers, offer to help others and specify the kind of opportunity you seek. 

Flip-Phones Make Comeback for Some Gen Z Consumers

Flip-phones that eschew the screens and features of today’s smartphones are making a comeback with some younger consumers, CNBC reports. 

Companies such as HMD Global continue to sell millions of the mobile devices sometimes called “dumb phones,” which are similar to those commonly used in the early 2000s, before the advent of the smartphone. Certain Gen Z populations are “tired of the screens,” said Jose Briones, moderator of the subreddit forum, “r/dumbphones.”

In the United States, HMD Global’s flip-phone sales increased in 2022, with tens of thousands sold each month as a contingent of young people revert back to minimalist phones. Companies such as Punkt and Light are also selling basic devices for consumers who want to spend less time on their phones and social media. 

Said Joe Hollier, co-founder of Light, which markets phones that lack internet browsing, email and apps, “it’s about consciously choosing how and when to use which aspects of technology that add to my quality of life.”

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