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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One of the pandemic's longer-term impacts on how we work could be the end of the five-day, 9-to-5 workweek.

What's happening: For many companies, these past few months have been a period of rapid experimentation — and some are finding that shorter workdays and four-day weeks can work quite well.

1. Shorter days: The gap between when the school day typically ends — 3pm — and when the workday ends — 5 pm — "is grossly unfair to working parents," Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at UPenn's Wharton School, writes in the Economist.

  • "If more of us end up working remotely after the pandemic, there is one change that could make work better: ending the misalignment between the school day and the work day," he writes.
  • Parents juggling work and child care while telecommuting are already bearing burdens their colleagues are not, and shortening the workday to 3pm would take away a great deal of stress.
  • Grant notes: "Take it from someone who studies work for a living: we can be every bit as creative and productive in six focused hours a day as in twice as many distracted hours."

2. Shorter weeks: Firms have been experimenting with four-day workweeks during the coronavirus crisis.

  • Some are doing it so they can reduce pay and cut costs. And others are doing it to ensure their employees don't get too stressed or burned out during these times.
  • But the four-day workweek could outlast the pandemic. About one-third of U.S. employers already offer shorter weeks, NBC reports, and more could follow suit.

Go deeper

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.

Updated 19 mins ago - World

Ukraine crisis: Blinken to visit Kyiv, then meet Russian foreign minister

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, following a trip to Kyiv to reinforce U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian invasion, according to a senior U.S. official.

Why it matters: The meeting with Lavrov suggests a diplomatic resolution to the crisis may still be on the table, despite the collapse of security talks between Russia and the West last week.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull — CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer — Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines.
  2. Vaccines: Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — America's vaccination drive runs out of gas.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  5. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  6. Variant tracker