The Five-Hour Workday: The Broadsheet

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Astros fire their general manager for his problematic comments, Mayor Pete Buttigieg releases a plan on women’s rights, and the five-hour workday could help working parents. Have a wonderful weekend. 


- Five-hour energy. Have you heard about the five-hour workday? 

A small tech consulting company in Germany profiled by the Wall Street Journal instituted the policy, based on research that shows that most employees are only productive during four to five hours of their day. Workers arrive by 8 a.m. and can leave at 1 p.m., with their work concentrated in a shorter block of time. What got cut out? Small talk with co-workers, time spent checking email (company inboxes are checked twice a day), meetings longer than 15 minutes, any social media, and cell phone use. 

In return, the company found that workers produced the same level of output and were able to spend their extra time on hobbies, part-time jobs, and family. 

The consulting firm's owner, Lasse Rheingans, was inspired to implement the policy after, at a previous job, he had taken a salary cut to spend two afternoons a week with his children. He found he produced the same level of output, and asked his bosses to reinstate his full salary. (A bold negotiation move we should all note!) 

While the story doesn't dive into it beyond Rheingans's experience, the five-hour workday certainly has implications for working parents. The firm has found the schedule to be a draw in hiring; perhaps some of those hires are workers with caregiving responsibilities attracted by the extra three-plus hours a day they'd have outside the office. 

With so many companies touting flexible and remote work schedules that in practice often spread work out over nearly every hour of the day, this company has hit on a different solution. It probably can't work for every profession (journalism, anyone?), but for some fields, less is definitely more. 

Emma Hinchliffe


- Fraser for president. Back in September, Claire posed a question that has been on the minds of, well, pretty much every woman who has ever worked in finance. Why, she asked, has Wall Street never had a woman CEO? Yesterday, the industry got one step closer when Citi CEO Michael Corbat named Jane Fraser his No. 2. Fraser, previously the bank's CEO of Latin America, is now president of Citi, as well as CEO of its global consumer bank—and a possible successor to Corbat.

- On the trail. This piece goes behind the scenes with the women running 2020 campaigns. Julián Castro campaign manager Maya Rupert, Elizabeth Warren's national political director and senior adviser Rebecca Pearcey, Bernie Sanders deputy campaign manager Arianna Jones, Joe Biden's senior adviser Symone Sanders, and Lis Smith, the force behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg, talk about waking up to new gray hair, eating three breakfasts by mistake on their candidate's stops, and being in charge on the trail. Marie Claire 

- Women's agenda. Speaking of the 2020 candidates, Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a 26-page agenda on women's rights yesterday. Buttigieg supports the same priorities other candidates have committed to, like 12 weeks of paid family leave and the Equal Rights Amendment; he also promises to nominate women for at least half of cabinet positions and judicial seats, and supports the creation of a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum. Vox

- What dreams aren't made of. The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, is under pressure to resign over the state of city services. Trade unions joined forces for a general strike, blaming Raggi for Rome's "drastic decline, with rubbish going uncollected for days, miles of road desperately in need of repair, and an increasingly dysfunctional transport system." Guardian

- In detention. Activist and journalist Huang Xueqin was detained last week in Guangzhou. Huang is a leading figure in China's #MeToo movement and more recently had shown support for the protests in Hong Kong. New York Times

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced she won't seek reelection to Congress and will only continue her presidential campaign. After its acquisition by Vice Media, Refinery29 named former Nylon EIC Gabrielle Korn to the new position of director of fashion and culture. 


- Next decade. At the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit this week, Cloudflare co-founder Michelle Zatlyn said that the next 10 years in Silicon Valley will be about policy changes as tech companies face more scrutiny. One especially important topic for public policy to address will be laws that help technology companies like Cloudflare decide when content should be removed from the Internet. Fortune

- How business can help. Businesses can normalize seeking help for addiction and addressing mental health issues. Just as a company would bring in experts to discuss heart disease, wellness, and fitness, leadership should also bring in experts to talk about addiction, panelists said at the MPW Summit. Fortune

- More than crisis management. How can boards of directors be more proactive on corporate culture outside of crisis management? Executives from HP, Twitter, and Wunderman Thompson debated the question: Fortune 

- The power of the pivot. Millennials are constantly considering career pivots, and few expect to stay with the same company for the duration of their career. Companies should lean into that, says LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel. Fortune

Share today's Broadsheet with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Astros fire assistant general manager Brandon Taubman following clubhouse outburst directed at female reporters Washington Post

CNN will follow its female reporters on the campaign trail for HBO Max Variety

'Powerful woman' Kellyanne Conway mocks and threatens reporter for mentioning her husband Washington Examiner

Harvey Weinstein turned up at an event for young actors. A woman confronted him and was thrown out BuzzFeed


"A.I. is like teenage sex. Everyone is saying they're doing it, but no one has any idea [what's going on]."

-Pymetrics CEO Frida Polli at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit

This is the web version of The Broadsheet, a daily newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet