One of Wall Street’s most powerful people is predicting that a 4-day workweek is coming, but there is a catch

Illustration of a woman showing flexibility

More employers are exploring concepts like a four-day workweek but what many people want is flexibility.onetime/Getty Images

Let’s have a day! Travel for summer vacations is shaping up to be brutal. United Airlines asked pilots to take unpaid leave next month due to issues at Boeing. And JetBlue’s checked bag fees might change depending on when you’re traveling.

In today’s big story, we’re looking at a Wall Street billionaire’s prediction that the four-day workweek is coming.

What’s on deck:

But first, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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The big story

Working for the long weekend

Steve Cohen

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Lincoln Center; iStock; Rebecca Zisser/BI

Four-day workweek advocates rejoice! One of the most powerful people on Wall Street has joined your ranks.

Billionaire hedge fund manager and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen said a four-day workweek is inevitable, Business Insider’s Matthew Fox writes.

Cohen’s thesis, as laid out during a CNBC interview on Wednesday, is partly fueled by the rise of artificial intelligence and the fact that no one seems to do much work on Fridays anyway.

(As a Mets fan, I’d suggest Cohen focus on getting the team, which is 0-4, to work even one day a week. Cohen, who views his ownership as “a civic responsibility,” compared the rough start to a hedge fund having a few down days in January.)

Cohen put his money where his mouth is regarding the four-day workweek. His recent investment in the PGA Tour fits into the theme of people having more free time on their hands due to a shorter week.

His backing comes as momentum continues to build for shortening the workweek, particularly among younger workers pushing for broader workplace changes.

A calendar with Fridays missing.

iStock;Rebecca Zisser/BI

Cohen’s endorsement comes with a catch.

As the newest four-day workweek fan club member, Cohen must be interested in implementing it at his hedge fund, Point72.

Right? Right?!

“If they’re taking off Friday and they have a portfolio, that’s a problem, OK, if the markets are open,” Cohen said when asked about his firm’s plans.

And therein lies the rub. Companies and executives are supportive of skipping Fridays — to a point.

Plenty of smaller companies have run pilot programs. A massive study conducted in 2022 across multiple countries found the 32-hour week increased revenue and improved employee health and well-being. Basis Technologies, an advertising software company, implemented a 4.5-day workweek this year.

But full-scale adoption of a shortened workweek by a large corporation remains a pipedream. A rundown of companies offering four-day workweeks by has some big names, but most are either small pilots or come with serious caveats.

I get it. No one wants to be the first to do something so controversial only to have it backfire or be used against them. But the result is people agreeing the workweek could use a refresher, but no one is willing to do the work to get there.

Workers do have one piece of leverage. Return-to-office mandates have strained the employee-employer relationship. Maybe the four-day workweek represents the olive branch companies can extend to get people back to their desks.

3 things in markets

People walking outside the New York Stock Exchange.

Yuki Iwamura/AP

  1. A graduate school project might eventually be the best way to catch politicians’ insider trading. The AI tool, which is still in its “private beta,” can contextualize lawmakers’ stock transactions with things like committee assignments and sponsored legislation to suss out suspicious activity. A 2021 BI investigation found lawmakers regularly violated a conflict-of-interest law with little consequence.

  2. The Federal Reserve isn’t playing politics. Fed Chair Jerome Powell made clear any decision around interest rate cuts won’t have anything to do with November’s presidential election. Speaking of cuts, Powell said the Fed needs more data to feel confident about making them.

  3. Tesla’s stock is on thin ice, JPMorgan says. The bank reiterated its “underweight” rating on the EV maker and slashed its price target to just $115, implying a 32% drop from current levels. The downgrade comes after Tesla missed Wall Street’s first-quarter delivery targets.

3 things in tech

A raincloud with an upside-down Amazon logo on it.

Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

  1. Amazon is laying off hundreds of employees in its cloud division. According to internal emails, the job cuts will impact Amazon Web Services’ sales and marketing workers and the team that’s building tech for its retail stores. The layoffs follow Amazon’s elimination of about 160 advertising roles last week.

  2. Google just scored a big win in the AI talent war. The company hired OpenAI’s former head of developer relations, Logan Kilpatrick, for its AI Studio. One person called Kilpatrick Google’s new “secret weapon.”

  3. Apple eyes up its next big thing. The tech giant is in the early stages of looking into building smart home robots, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, as it tries to move on from the multibillion-dollar electric car project it decided to scrap earlier this year.

3 things in business

A lobster lying on a pile of diamonds.

Carl Godfrey for BI

  1. Wall Street’s favorite restaurants are gaudier than ever. Forget the recession, and forget minimalism. New York City’s dining scene is back in full force, and its dining elite are louder, prouder, and more extravagant than ever.

  2. Bob Iger has one really important thing left to do. After winning the long, expensive proxy battle against Nelson Peltz, Iger still must find someone to succeed him. After a few false starts, he’s promised to get it right this time, insisting he’ll have someone lined up for when he leaves in 2026.

  3. Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon is under fire, again. Proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services is pushing for the bank to separate its chairman and CEO roles, Reuters reported. Goldman’s annual shareholder meeting is set to take place later this month.

In other news

What’s happening today

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London.

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