During a Thursday appearance on CNBC Squawk Box, Barry Diller, the CEO and chairman of IAC—as well as chairman of Expedia Group and founder of FOX and USA Broadcasting— said he anticipates the new standard workweek to be four days in the office followed by flexible Fridays. Not ideal, the billionaire business magnate admitted, but better than the two days in office per week his staff is currently working.

The current smattering of workplace arrangements—which often vary from one person to another, even on the same team—is “madness,” “absurd,” and “chaos,” Diller told CNBC journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. He anticipates it will result in “not necessarily a four-day workweek, but four days in the office, and Fridays, you can work from home or work at your own schedule.”

That plan, itself an iteration of flexible work, is “the sensible evolution of all this,” Diller said, with the qualifier that it has to be “standardized.” 

In a roundabout way, Diller is aligned with most flexible-work experts on that point. Though they ultimately recommend against any amount of in-person work that would make it impossible for workers to live beyond commuting distance, most can admit that some amount of in-person time for collaboration and major decision-making is invaluable.

But even Diller, an avowedly pro-office boss, can admit that five days a week in-person is simply beyond the scope of expectation for most workers. “I’ll settle for two-and-a-half or three-and-a-quarter,” he told Sorkin. 

Diller is unsurprised by the popularity of remote work, but like many of his peers, he doesn’t take it seriously. Workers today “want total flexibility, less work, stay home and [to] get paid more—of course, why not?” he said. But everyone must be in on the same days. “You can’t have 17,000 different programs.” 

And for good measure, Diller added, most jobs are simply not effective when done fully remotely. “If your work involves anything other than sitting and staring at a screen, or customer service, [that] doesn’t involve anybody else in your company, okay,” he said. “But if you relate to anyone else, come into an office and be part of an environment that has so many different things running around inside of it. That betters your life, your career, and betters the business.” 

Despite his pre-pandemic fully in-person aspirations, Diller nonetheless concedes that a four-day workweek is imminent. Perhaps he should follow the example of billionaire hedge-fund titan and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who appeared on Squawk Box the day before, and announced that in lieu of a four-day workweek, he was investing heavily in leisure activities like golf. That’s what all those flexible workers are planning to do with their newfound free time, right?

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