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'3 & 2': The new work schedule shaping up for offices

Three days in the office and two working from home may become the new normal for millions.

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A year after a work-from-home revolution was thrust upon us, talk is now turning to how much and how fast we return to the office. The answers are buried somewhere inside a matrix of health procedures, employee preferences and management theory. Now what?

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Nicholas Bloom: Professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, conducts continuous surveys of thousands of workers and hundreds of employers to power his focus on how we work. He joined CNET Now What to share the latest from his research. Some of the key points: 

  • "3 & 2" could be the new five days a week. Three days in the office and two days working from home is emerging as a consensus for many workplaces.
  • Those days in the office will likely be the same ones for all employees, or at least for all the members of a large department or group, as opposed to letting each worker choose their three days in the office. Bloom says managers seek to ensure team cohesion with such a policy. 
  • When the dust settles, Bloom predicts we will settle at an overall level of working from home that would have taken 25 years to achieve were it not for the pandemic.
  • The "donut effect" could change cities by hollowing out city centers while puffing up their near perimeters.

Professor Bloom shared a wealth of insights into the near future of work with CNET's Brian Cooley. Hear them all in the video above.


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Now What is a video interview series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the "new normal." There will always be change in our world, and we'll be here to discuss how to navigate it all.