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What’s the best plan for a radical new workday?

Work as we know it will never be the same – but are we prepared for a drastic transformation of where and when we do our jobs?

Source | | Meredith Turits

As most knowledge workers have toiled away remotely for nearly a year, some are eager to get back to the office, while others have high hopes of being able to stay at home. Regardless of the camp you fall into, there’s one question that’s hanging over everyone: what will work actually look like on the other side of the pandemic? Will our structure revert to pre-pandemic days: 9 to 5, five days a week?

Maybe, but maybe not. Some companies are anxious to get workers back to their desks, but at the same time, employee desire is ramping for a new type of ‘hybrid’ work future – a mix of both office presence as well as some time remote.

While some of these proposals to shake up the structure of work simply focus on giving employees a little more flexibility, a few are more dramatic. Some work and productivity experts are proposing that we blow up the notion of working five days or setting standard hours and workplaces altogether. If companies and workers rally around these big ideas, they’ll create a world of work that looks very different than it did a year ago.

Working ‘3-2-2’

Three days in the office, two days remote and two days off. That’s the premise behind ‘3-2-2’, a new work-structure proposal from academics Lauren C Howe, Ashley Whillans and Jochen I Menges. The emphasis on flexibility is key here, as workers choose the set-up that works best for them and mould their days around their personal schedules. (It’s a striking contrast to China’s similarly named 9-9-6, in which employees work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, in a rigid structure.)

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