The workweek seems to be getting harder to define.
Since the early days of the pandemic led to a surge in workers commuting to spare rooms rather than cubicles, employers and employees alike have been trying to figure out exactly what is expected during office hours.
General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra sent a memo to office workers Dec. 6 mandating in-office work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as of Jan. 8.
It's not just about office workers. The United Auto Workers had said early in negotiations with the Detroit Three this year that it wanted a four-day workweek as part of new contracts. That demand was dropped in U.S. discussions, but Reuters reports that Italian sportscar maker Lamborghini has reached a deal with its unions to introduce a four-day week for production workers.
Hourly employees on a rotating two-shift schedule will alternative five-day weeks with four-day weeks, cutting 22 days of work each year, but without a pay cut. The unions, in fact, are getting a pay raise.
Lamborghini isn't alone. EssilorLuxottica, the Italian eyeglasses maker whose brands include Ray-Ban, Oakley, Prada and Foster Grant, just signed a contract with its union members that will see six Italian factories experiment with four-day weeks 20 weeks out of the year.
In the United Kingdom, 61 companies conducted a six-month experiment with a four-day week in 2022. The trial found the option "significantly increased job satisfaction, improved work-life balance and reduced employee stress," Benjamin Laker wrote for MIT Sloan Management Review. Companies also reported improved product quality and customer service.