In the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the future of women at work. That’s because it’s never been more important. According to the most recent data, male workers have now regained all the jobs they lost due to COVID, but there are still 1.1 million women who left the workforce and never came back. We know that getting these women back into gratifying jobs that they can thrive in is one of the best ways we can move toward closing the gender wage gap, the women’s investing gap, and all the gaps that disproportionately impact women.
But we can’t talk about getting women “back to work” without talking about what, exactly, that work needs to look like. Because “work” as we’ve known it for the last 100 years, just wasn’t built for women. We have Henry Ford to thank for the 5-day, 9-5 workweek, which he standardized in 1926. Women were not considered in Ford’s equation, nor was the health and wellness of employees — it was a work week designed solely to maximize profit and productivity. And only today, in 2022, are companies starting to look at it with a more critical eye.
A big reason for this newfound introspection is because we now have more women in corporate leadership positions than ever before— according to The State Of Women Survey for 2022, by HerMoney and our partners at The Alliance for Lifetime Income, 39% of women say that a four-day workweek is either important or very important to them when considering a job opportunity. And just last week, a new bill was proposed in California that could change the workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours, enabling 3.6 million people to move, permanently, to a four-day workweek, without having to make up for it with wage cuts or longer hours. (Also, Newsweek is now maintaining a running list of every single company in America that’s moved to a four-day workweek, with details on how to get hired.)
But how sticky are these changes, really? Are we really going to emerge from COVID with new standards for work, and new options for flexibility that previously women could only dream about? We’re answering those questions this week with Shannan Monson, founder and CEO of NuuWork, a platform that matches talent with flexible work for the new economy. Shannan is a three-time founder of seven-figure businesses and a community growth expert who consults for some of the fastest-growing companies in the world.
Listen in as Shannan tells us why the 9-to-5 workplace and other historical ways we work are no longer serving us — and how the “new economy” is helping to change that. (She elaborates on what working “on your own terms” really means. We also get real about the difference between “flexibility” and an official four-day workweek — there is a vast gulf of in-betweens that people might be offered today.
We also discuss how to know if your company might be able to foster a four-day workweek environment. (For example, if Fridays are important to the company, might it be possible to work those days at half-staff, so that everyone can get every-other Friday off, or perhaps some people get Friday off, and some people get Monday off?) If you want to approach your company’s leadership about the possibility of a four-day work week, Shannan walks us through how to make that ask, with some talking points.
We also get real about when it’s time to change jobs if your company doesn’t offer the kind of flexibility you need. (We’ve all known or worked for companies that have been “set in their ways,” and we know that no matter how many requests we put in with our managers or HR, they’re probably not going to budge) So, when do you stay and fight, and when do you move on?
Hint: Don’t be afraid to move on if you aren’t finding the support you need. “Instead of having one career path, on average, Americans have 2-3 career paths throughout their life, so ask yourself: “What if I never did anything like this again, would I be able to create a different career? Would I be able to find something else?” Shannan says — and the answer is a resounding “yes.”
In Mailbag, we hear from a “millennial in transition” who breaks down her complete financial picture for Jean, and we dive into it all. And in Thrive, a rent vs. buy checklist.
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