What Does Your Workday Look Like?

Days when you have to go in to an office, I mean

Maria Shimizu Christensen

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Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

My company is adding one more day a week in the office to our work schedule. I’m not happy. We’ve been working Tuesday through Thursday in the office, and Monday and Friday at home. Mondays are now back in the office, and back to as awful as they always used to be.

I’m not alone. It’s happening everywhere. To a friend who works in the tech sector. To lots of people working for companies that are back — or never left — a five day work-in-the-office week.

Why? Amazon workers famously asked CEO Andy Jassy what data informed the decision to bring them back to the office at least three days a week. He had no answer for that. Because there isn’t any. Every explanation from every senior leader in every company in every industry that is following this backwards trend is fuzzy. Intangible. Unquantifiable.

Here’s what they’re missing: the magic sauce they’re looking for to make their companies truly great really does rely on a fuzzy, intangible, unquantifiable feeling among workers that their work makes them happy, productive, and proud. Leadership can create the settings and policies that help promote this feeling, but it isn’t guaranteed, and it can’t be forced. The more you try to force it, the less happy people will be.

Bringing people back into an office where they don’t want to be won’t create that magic sauce. Oh, people will still do their jobs and behave professionally, like they’ve always done, but the magic is gone and it won’t come back.

There’s plenty of data on the experiments and studies done on varying work weeks, from four 10-days, to working 32 hours while being paid for 40 hours. The majority of companies (mostly European) stuck with the new hours after the experiments were over because they found that people were just as productive and a lot happier.

Everyone knows that happy employees are good employees. In an article on the Society for Human Resource Management, the CEO of a consulting company noted:

“Employers need to make certain that they remember the reason for the four-day workweek … to recruit and retain top talent by…

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Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life. https://www.mariashimizuchristensen.com