‘Out of touch’: This CEO told employees that ‘winning’ means ‘working long hours’ and ‘blending work and life,' but US workers overwhelmingly support a 4-day workweek. Is hustle culture dead?

‘Out of touch’: This CEO told employees that ‘winning’ means ‘working long hours’ and ‘blending work and life,' but US workers overwhelmingly support a 4-day workweek. Is hustle culture dead?
‘Out of touch’: This CEO told employees that ‘winning’ means ‘working long hours’ and ‘blending work and life,' but US workers overwhelmingly support a 4-day workweek. Is hustle culture dead?

How would you react if your boss told you that “working long hours [and] blending work and life is not anything to shy away from”?

That's exactly what Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah said in a company-wide email, obtained by Business Insider, in which the head honcho of the online retailer sought to refute what he called a “laughably false” claim that he doesn’t think his employees should “work late.”

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On the contrary, Shah wrote: “There is not a lot of history of laziness being rewarded with success. Hard work is an essential ingredient in any recipe for success. I embrace this, and the most successful people I know do as well.”

Unsurprisingly, Shah’s almost militant musings about “winning” — which came after the housing furnishing company finally turned a profit following a series of cost-cutting measures, including layoffs — have triggered an outburst of dismay among those unwilling to bend to Shah’s version of the hard graft.

CNN Business editor-at-large Richard Quest said he “didn’t know whether to laugh or cry” over the memo “because it is so out of touch” with best business practice today.

He was joined by Stanford economics professor and remote work researcher Nicholas Bloom, who said: “If Wayfair wants to run a business where people work 80 hours a week, he’s going to have to put up their salaries by 50% to pay them for it. I don’t see this as being successful for the typical employee.”

The backlash to Shah's arguably tone-deaf missive comes amid signs that the U.S. is trending toward working less, not more. Several states, including California, have recently seen legislation that would mandate four-day workweeks. And recent polling has shown that some 87% of American workers are open to the idea of dropping a day from their weekly work schedule.

If you find yourself broadly in the camp of people for whom blending work and home life does not seem like “winning” at all, here are three smart ways to make your money do the hard work for you.

Earn passive income from stocks

One of the best ways to put your money to work is to invest in dividend stocks.

These stocks pay out dividends to shareholders on a regular basis. Companies that pay dividends are typically big and well-established, with predictable revenues and earnings. Industries with a high proportion of dividend-paying companies include: finance, healthcare, utilities and energy.

The strategy for people who want to earn passive income from dividend stocks is simple, but powerful: Find stocks that pay strong dividends of at least 2% a year, let them sit and reinvest the regular payouts.

There are many ways to buy dividend stocks. Most likely, you'll want to purchase them through popular brokerage firms, but you can also buy stocks directly from a company. You can also invest via tax-friendly retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and IRAs.

Of course, not all dividend stocks are the same; some have a better track record of paying reliable — and ever-increasing — dividends. But if you get it right, your wealth could snowball without you having to lift a finger.

Read more: Rich young Americans have lost confidence in the stock market — and are betting on these 3 assets instead. Get in now for strong long-term tailwinds

Build your wealth with real estate

As a tangible asset that typically appreciates over time, real estate is one of the more popular investment classes for building wealth.

There are a few ways to make money off of it. You can generate cash flow by renting out your property. You can also build equity as you pay off your mortgage, which comes with many benefits.

If you want your real estate portfolio to grow beyond your home, you can invest in a residential real estate investment trust (REIT). REITs are publicly traded. They collect rent from tenants and pass that rent on to shareholders in the form of dividends.

Consider also using an online crowdfunding platform. These allow investors to pool their money together to buy property (or a share of property) as a group.

If you don’t want the pressure of making investment decisions yourself, investing apps and online platforms can help you invest in diversified real estate portfolios in ways that will seek to maximize your returns while keeping your fees low.

Go for gold

Many money mavens consider gold to be a wise investment because its purchasing power has remained relatively stable over time.

It is often lauded as a solid hedge against inflation — as explained by William Bevins, CFP, CTFA, in an interview with [CBS News] in 2023: “The worth of a dollar can be weakened by inflation, but gold provides you with an edge to combat that decrease in purchasing power.”

You can invest directly in gold by buying it in its physical form, either as bars, coins or jewelry.

Investing apps can also help you invest in the commodity by purchasing shares of gold mining companies on the stock market. For those looking for more diverse exposure, you can also invest in gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

You may also want to consider opening a gold IRA, an individual retirement account that allows you to invest in precious metals in physical forms, like coins, instead of stocks, mutual funds and other traditional investments.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.