The BTM Book Report: ‘Shorter’

The BTM Book Report: 'Shorter'

About the Book Title: Shorter Author: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang Length: 320 pages (hardcover) Publisher: PublicAffairs Copyright Year: 2020

In Shorter, author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang addresses the shift to a compressed workweek that many companies are making. Not to be confused with condensing the typical 40-hour workweek into four days, this book discusses practical ways that companies can shorten their workweek by adopting six-hour days, 32-hour weeks, or some other version of a shorter workweek.

Framed through the lens of “design thinking,” the author presents the process that companies can use to make this massive shift in their work schedule as six individual steps: frame, inspire, ideate, prototype, test, and share. In the frame step, problems are identified by going beyond the surface issues of a company. Next, the inspire step is about understanding the users’, clients’, and/or customers’ needs. The ideate step is for brainstorming potential solutions. In the prototype and test steps, an initial solution is tried and data is collected to see if the prototype has solved the problems outlined in the first two steps. And, finally, in the share step, the success of the test is shared and spread throughout the company.

Using case studies from businesses in various industries, Pang presents the challenges and successes of companies that have reduced their workweek. For example, in the ideate stage where solutions are developed, important questions are asked about what day of the week can be eliminated from a five-day schedule, or which hours of the day can be eliminated from a daily schedule, based on a company’s slower days, times, and client needs.

It is important to note that, in some cases, workdays were not completely eliminated, but rather were replaced with free time to work on other projects for personal development. This is considered personal investment time that is unrelated to regular work tasks, but companies have found plenty of benefits from letting their employees be creative about their own projects.

The testing stage is key to this overall process. Metrics must be collected ...

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