Is COVID-19 Driving a Push for the 4 Day Workweek?
Has the coronavirus pandemic helped us get any closer to a four day workweek? Honestly, as much as I would like a three day weekend, I've been very skeptical that we're getting any closer to a four day workweek. That said, the coronavirus does have the three day weekend in the news again. And there's potentially a strong reason to implement it.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted:
3-Day weekends are better than 2-Day weekends. We should seriously look at 4-day workweeks. Studies show that we would be just as productive. It would create jobs at the margins and improve mental health.
Attached to his tweet is a Washington Post article that says when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bridged the subject people noticed. According to the article Arden is floating the idea of a three day weekend to help stimulate New Zeleand's domestic tourism which has been hit hard by COVID-19.
However, she couched the suggestion in the broader context that if business changes due to the coronavirus proved that a four day workweek worked for some businesses, she'd like those employers to consider implementing it.
Re-invigorating domestic tourism as a way to bring the three day weekend to life might just be the reason needed for many businesses to implement it. Especially if the four day workweek also results in a cost savings for the company. Whether or not domestic tourism in the United States is going to need that stimulus remains to be seen.
I'm a big fan of hotel and travel expert Anthony Melchiorri.* Don't laugh, but I listen to the hotel industry podcast he co-hosts with Glenn Haussman called "Checking In With Anthony and Glenn". I think there's always been part of me interested in hotels and the hospitality industry.
Many of the hotel and travel executives they've had on the podcast are absolutely sure the travel industry will come back. With many predicting leisure travel coming back first, and people doing road trips closer to home vs. hopping on an airplane and going cross country.
If that happens quickly, the argument of using the three day weekend to reinvigorate domestic tourism might be over before it started. Or it could just be another reason to double down on the three day weekend. I mean would you rather head to Kansas City or Lake of the Ozarks on a Friday afternoon and have to come back on a Sunday? Or stick around and come back sometime on a Monday? For me, the weekend getaway is a lot more tempting when I have a Monday off. We'll have to see how this plays out.
*Anthony Melchiorri is an Air Force Veteran who spent some time serving at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster. He began his hospitality career at a hotel in Overland Park.