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The four-day workweek remains experimental, and if you’re considering transitioning to a shortened week it’s important to develop a strategy that suits your business’s and employees’ needs.What’s your four-day strategy?
Just as adapting to working from home was more complicated for some employers than others, a four-day workweek presents more significant challenges for some companies, and for some types of employees, than others. For workplaces that face greater barriers, a little bit of strategic thinking goes a long way.
For example, working from home made it more difficult for employees to connect organically, batting around new ideas at the water cooler or addressing small problems before they become big ones. A four-day workweek could exacerbate that. If you’re concerned about the loss of connection, consider a fixed four-day workweek where everyone is working the same days.
For employees whose roles are not a fit for a four-day workweek, such as those who work in production roles with tight deadlines, consider other types of flexibility so they don’t feel like they’re being excluded from a new benefit. For example, Myers says, “We give people in production roles, where legally possible, the opportunity to work more than five days straight if they want, to bank time off they can take later.”
If you’re worried about a four-day workweek slowing down productivity, consider using employee monitoring software to ensure employees are making the most of the time they are working.Ask employees what they want
Before you can start designing an alternative workweek, you need to understand what your employees need and what they value. Start during onboarding with a new-hire survey or with one-on-one conversations, emphasizing that you’re trying to design a policy that works for everyone. You can extend this to your existing workforce as well by commissioning focus groups or a committee to explore the idea from your employees’ perspectives.
A four-day workweek can be particularly important for employees with greater responsibilities at home, according to Charlotte Lockhart, founder and CEO of 4 Day Week Global. “Reducing work hours provides better options to families to manage care duties more equitably so parents can value care responsibilities without negatively impacting their income or career progression.”
However, not all parents may want a whole day off. For some, it may be more helpful to be able to come in slightly later or leave slightly earlier for school pickup and dropoff. Some may prioritize working from home, regardless of the hours.
You can also use more sophisticated tools to understand how employees are faring, such as Dr. Dalton-Smith’s rest quiz, to help employees better understand their own needs and empower them to play a role in creating a new policy. By understanding these needs, you can craft a plan that is more responsive.
Once you develop the plan, share the thinking behind it. Even if you can’t meet every employee’s needs, they are likely to appreciate the consideration and be sympathetic to the fact that their colleagues have different needs than theirs.
Tip: Don’t assume you understand what employees want out of a four-day workweek. Ask them by conducting employee surveys and encouraging employee feedback in performance reviews and one-on-one meetings.Match your approach to your goals
A four-day workweek isn’t just a way to improve employee well-being. Transitioning to a shorter workweek can also support broader company goals for many businesses.
For example, a four-day workweek may also help to close the gender pay gap, which is critical for companies that want to become more welcoming to female employees.
“The four-day week will mean that women returning to work after having children will not need to negotiate shorter workweeks in exchange for a pay cut,” Lockhart said.
Emphasizing the policy, and the fact you considered the needs of new parents in creating it, can send a powerful message that your workplace is family-friendly.
Are you focused on diversity, equity and inclusion? Emphasize a four-day workweek as a benefit to distinguish your company when recruiting diverse job candidates. Are you trying to cut costs? Offer employees the choice to take a four-day workweek in exchange for other benefits that come with a price tag, as part of a holistic compensation plan. Are you focused on human capital management? Give staff a four-day workweek and have them spend part of the fifth day taking online trainings.Back the policy up with culture
If you want to achieve the benefits of a four-day workweek, the policy has to be backed up by managers and by a culture that supports its implementation. A four-day workweek in which people are still expected to answer emails on the fifth day may breed employee frustration.
“If the schedule says people are only working four days a week, but their managers still expect them to respond to emails on the day off or on weekends, what have you really achieved?” Myers said. “If you don’t have clear boundaries and policies in place to support it, you won’t change much.”
Before you implement a four-day workweek, make sure that managers and members of the human resources team understand the goals and expectations, and give them a chance to express their concerns and ask questions. If they’re less than enthusiastic, take the time to understand why and address any issues. Because they are the frontline implementers of the policy, it will likely fail without their buy-in.
To get the benefits of a four-day workweek, the policy must be reinforced with a culture that supports boundaries between work and home life.An idea whose time has come
Though a four-day workweek may not be a fit for every company, the research shows that in many places it can boost employee well-being while improving, or at least not harming, productivity. Getting it right takes some creativity and an understanding of your employees’ needs, but the payoff can be significant.
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A full decade after she first launched a business from her kitchen table, Dune Jewelry & Co. CEO Holly Daniels Christensen found herself back there starting in 2023. But since then, she has been connecting directly with thousands of customers from afar, via their mobile devices.
In her “Kitchen Table Talks,” a series of Facebook Live video discussions, Christensen has chatted with other fashion, luxury, and style experts on how to look and feel your best, even from a distance. “I’ve had customers send private messages talking about what a hard time they’ve been having,” says Christensen. “[Kitchen Table Talks] have really helped some of the people who are anxiety-ridden take their mind off things.”
National Small Business Week is the perfect occasion to spotlight a company like Dune Jewelry & Co., whose team is about 30 people strong. Their jewelry incorporates sand and earth elements from thousands of memorable and iconic locations around the world.
“Even if they’ve ordered from us two or three different times, customers might not realize they can use sand from their honeymoon or flowers from their wedding in a piece of jewelry,” she explains. “We’re focused on opening up people’s creativity and helping them be creators of their own jewelry.”
Associates can of course walk customers through their options in-store, but they can also connect online via a chat box on the Dune website. On the back end, Christensen is upgrading Dune’s e-commerce platform to allow for greater personalization. She also deployed a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps automate Dune’s customer service operations. Like most cloud-based tools, the SaaS platform allows the team to monitor business operations from their laptop or smartphone, even while they’re off-site.
Dune is a great example of how small businesses can avoid being held back by legacy IT. To follow in their footsteps, you have several other technologies at your disposal:Boost employee loyalty and productivity at the same time
As a result of the last few years, businesses and their employees are adapting to the hybrid work environment that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. They are continuing to find new ways to stay connected and productive. A next-gen mobile device like Galaxy Z Fold4 5G empowers employees with the ability to multitask more productively — in up to three apps at once — dragging and dropping content between apps and even writing by hand with an optional S Pen. And there’s the latest Galaxy S23 Ultra, which in addition to having compatibility with the S Pen, enables employees to easily access work files and documents from anywhere with integrated Microsoft and Google cloud tools.Create safe, immersive, and helpful in-person experiences
Amid the rise and rapid increase of online shopping over the last few years, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face the pressing need to find additional ways to showcase their products and communicate with customers to create a more personalized customer experience.
Wayfinding and navigation apps can help customers find the items they want more quickly, reducing their time in the store. The moment a customer grabs something off the shelf, you can promote an accessory or other related product, encouraging upsells with items of genuine value to the customer.Reduce paperwork and admin chores
According to a small business owner report, 49% of SMB owners are planning to use artificial intelligence (AI) to further enhance their business value. The challenge, however, might be figuring out where to start.
At many SMBs, too much time is spent sifting through and coordinating contracts. ZDNet offers a helpful guide for SMBs, explaining how AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) can simplify contract management and ensure they’re legally sound.Choose the right phone for your growing business
Get your free guide to matching the right smartphone with your business and employee needs. Download NowGrow online revenue by making changes faster and easier
Many SMBs that offer e-commerce use website plugins that are connected to their content management system (CMS). Even without in-house developers, SMBs can now access “headless commerce” tools that split their back-end e-commerce architecture from the CMS. Companies that do so can quickly create special e-commerce microsites for peak seasons or add “buy” buttons on social media — while boosting their SEO.
According to Shopify’s guide on getting started with headless commerce, one of the biggest business drivers is the increasing volume of customers shopping on mobile devices.
Whether you try one of these solutions or all of them, this National Small Business Week can be a catalyst for your business’s digital transformation.
A key part of succeeding as an SMB is spending less and doing more — securely and efficiently — which is much easier with a mobile device management (MDM) tool. Find out how you can get started in this free beginner’s guide. You can also explore exclusive business pricing, financing and trade-in options, and other deals on everything from phones and tablets to monitors and memory.
Just when you thought smart technology couldn’t get any more intrusive than it already is, manufacturers of baby products come up with a smart diaper. The most recent examples of smart diapers are the Lumi by Pampers or the Monit x Huggies diaper line, designed to help you monitor your baby through a “connected care system”.
Is this just another smart device that you don’t need?What Is a Smart Diaper
A smart diaper is a convenient underwear with an RFID sensor that alerts parents when it’s time to change the baby.
In the first several months of their lives, babies tend to urinate often, approximately 20 times a day. If you had to change your baby’s diaper each time he or she wets or soils the nappy, it’d get incredibly exhausting and expensive.
It’s not necessary to wake your baby every time just to change a wet diaper, which is about 4 tablespoons of liquid. However, with a poopy diaper, which counts as two wets, you need to change the baby immediately because it’ll irritate the baby’s skin.
Smart diapers are thus a way of helping parents prevent such skin irritations and other problems that may arise from leaving the diaper on the baby too long and make the baby miserable.How Smart Diapers Work
Smart diapers are built with a tiny RFID sensor that detects moisture in the baby’s diaper and then sends a signal to a nearby receiver, which then gets to the parent or caregiver via an alert.
The sensor, developed by researchers at MIT, doesn’t bulk up the diaper. It’s simply embedded in the hydrogel found in disposable diapers. The hydrogel expands when the diaper is wet and triggers a tag to send signals to the RFID reader within one meter radius. All this happens without the use of batteries.
This way, you (the parent or caregiver) can place the RFID sensor’s reader next to the baby’s crib, or your bed (yes, there are smart beds , too) which enables the sending of alerts to your smartphone. If you have a keychain with a portable reader, you can also get alerts.Is It Safe to Use a Smart Diaper?
Smart diapers are rather expensive at the moment and built around a removable Bluetooth sensor, which you need to charge and clean regularly. It tries to do too much as a smart solution by tracking not only wetness (pee and poop) but also your child’s sleep patterns.
As we’ve already seen, the RFID sensor is placed under a type of hydrogel, in the form of a layer of super absorbent polymer, which usually soaks up moisture in diapers. When the diaper is wet, the material will expand, send a signal to the sensor and you get the alert on your phone.
In terms of safety, your baby’s skin doesn’t get into contact with the sensor, just as it doesn’t come into contact with the hydrogel liquid tucked away in the diaper. Similarly, the sensor doesn’t use any batteries which would have otherwise been dangerous, especially with lead leaks.
For now, there are no known dangers to using the smart diaper, but with time and further research, these may be brought out by the developers. Otherwise, the regular diaper works just fine for your baby.Are Safe Diapers Necessary?
Diapers aren’t just for babies though – aging populations or bedridden patients need them, too. The latter, who are unable to take care of themselves, make the case for smart diapers viable, as caregivers can be notified of patients who need changing, especially in multi-bed hospitals.
Even though researchers hope for a cheaper smart diaper with an integrated, low-cost sensor that can detect moisture in conventional diapers, they seem like overkill really. Currently, there are normal diapers that have a little yellow line which turns to a blue color when your baby pees so you don’t even have to look in the diaper.
Plus, if your baby has peed or pooped, it’s easy to know because he or she will cry. When the baby cries, you check the diaper first, and if it’s dry, then you’ll know he or she is gassy, hungry, or about to go to the bathroom.
Since the dawn of time, parents have been taking care of their babies the natural way – waiting for the cry. While the diaper department has seen some simple technological breakthroughs over time, a special smart diaper with an RFID sensor just seems to be too much already.
Besides, smart diapers will certainly cost a lot more than your regular brand of diapers, and restocking only adds to the costs.
There’s no strong case for the use of smart diapers for babies as there is with the case of incontinent seniors or aging people who aren’t able to manage their bowel movements and need help with that. If anything, you can know when your baby has peed or pooped or if their sleep patterns aren’t regular because anything that affects them will affect you too.Wrap-Up
My passion has always been to share every bit of useful information I find on tech, with the ultimate goal of helping people solve a problem.
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Creating a successful business is far from simple. Even the most successful companies will experience highs and lows as they build towards the future. However, there are some processes and ideas you can implement to make this journey smoother. Below, we explore four lessons for a successful business.Four Lessons for a Successful Business 1. Learn from your mistakes
Mistakes should be seen as an opportunity to refine your process and learn. When your business gets something wrong, therefore, try and develop from the mistake. This can be achieved by reporting and reviewing processes throughout the year and analyzing what happened.
Also read: Top 10 Best Artificial Intelligence Software2. Surround yourself with the right people
A successful business requires a team effort. From the bottom to the top, you need talented employees that are aligned with your vision.
For instance, a dedicated and efficient management team that can help take your business to the next level. Plus, with dedicated services available to help you bring in talent, the hiring process doesn’t have to be too arduous. Interim management services are one particularly effective way of surrounding yourself with the right people.3. Be prepared for change
As the pandemic has shown us, the best businesses are prepared for change. With seamless working from home strategies and processes in place to ensure work continued without any disruption, the most organized businesses thrived during the pandemic.
Also read: What Is Gaming In Metaverse? 7 Best Metaverse Games To Try (#1 is played by millions of YouTubers)4. Always look forward
The most successful businesses are proactive rather than reactive. This means that they look ahead and plan for the future, rather than getting caught up in the present. And forward-thinking attitudes can take a business a long way.
By removing yourself from the present you can avoid any short-term volatility and work towards long-term progression.
The best way to achieve this approach is to empower your employees and trust in them. By searching for short-term results you could miss out on long-term gains.
Making your business successful requires plenty of effort and determination over a long period of time. And that’s even if you have a revolutionary idea!
However, by looking forward, preparing for change, surrounding yourself with the right people, and by learning from your mistakes, you should be able to put your business in the best position to thrive.Steph King
Steph King is a content writer from the UK with a passion for writing about Business and Marketing.
The adoption of Ethereum and NFTs by artists, collectors, and art institutions to produce, market, and acquire digital art has a profound impact on the art industry. The ownership of a distinctive piece of content, such as digital artwork, music, film, or even tweets, is represented by NFTs, which are digital tokens built on the blockchain.Top 10 Impacts of Ethereum and NFTs on the Art World
NFTs have created new opportunities for artists and collectors alike, challenging traditional notions of art ownership and value. In this article, we will discuss the Impacts of Ethereum and NFTs in the art world.
The Rise of Digital Art
The development of digital art has also been aided by Ethereum and NFTs. Digital art used to frequently be thought of as being inferior to more traditional kinds of art, such as painting or sculpture. NFTs, however, have given digital art a fresh sense of legitimacy and worth.
The Democratization of Art Ownership
The democratization of art ownership is one of Ethereum and NFTs’ most important effects on the art world. In the past, only the affluent elite could afford to purchase and display works of art in their homes or private collections. Yet, NFTs have made it possible for anyone, regardless of their financial situation, to own a work of digital art.
Increased Transparency in Art Transactions
The transparency of art transactions has also grown because of Ethereum and NFTs. Buyers and sellers can quickly confirm the validity and ownership of artwork because NFTs are recorded on the blockchain, lowering the possibility of fraud or counterfeiting.
Challenges for Traditional Art Institutions
While Ethereum and NFTs have given artists and collectors new opportunities, they have also raised difficulties for established art organizations like museums and galleries. These organizations could find it challenging to keep up with emerging platforms and technologies, as well as the shifting nature of the art world.
New Revenue Streams for Artists
The development of new sources of income for artists is another big effect of Ethereum and NFTs on the art world. Artists used to frequently receive a one-time payment for their work in the past, and they had little choice over how it was utilized or disseminated. NFTs, on the other hand, give artists the chance to keep control of their creations and profit from each sale by taking a cut of the proceeds.
The Impact on The Environment
Concerns regarding the environment have also been expressed about Ethereum and NFTs. Several environmental activists have criticized NFTs since they take a lot of energy to produce and trade, which is why they exist.
The Potential for New Collaborations and Partnerships
New prospects for collaborations and partnerships between artists and other industries, like gaming and virtual reality, have been made possible by Ethereum and NFTs. This could lead to the development of fresh, cutting-edge artistic mediums that straddle traditional and cutting-edge media.
The Need for Education and Awareness
The Blurring of Boundaries Between Art and Technology
Another factor in the blending of the lines between art and technology is Ethereum and NFTs. Software and technology are frequently used to create digital art, and the creation and exchange of NFTs using blockchain technology only serves to emphasize this relationship.
The Potential for Further Innovation
Last Week in China – Baidu, Blogger and a China Summer Ends
Some of the more noteworthy news tidbits that happened in China last week.
Baidu wins lawsuit over MP3’s
A bit more than a week ago Chinese search engine Baidu won a MP3 copyright infringement case lawsuit, brought to court by 7 of the world’s largest music companies, among them Warner and Sony.
Baidu ‘helps’ its users to find mp3 files by a specialized mp3 search engine. It’s one of the reasons why Baidu is very popular. They help you even to find the top 100 [links to translated version of the page]. Before you can download they show a pro forma screen telling you that Baidu attaches great importance to the protection of intellectual property rights.
The Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court overseeing the case ruled that the accusations brought against the Chinese search giant do not have adequate legal support.
“This is good news for us and it will foster the cooperation between Internet companies and the music industry,” Lesley Zhang, an official with Baidu, said.
The music companies don’t see the verdict as good news and will appeal. The thing is that, unless the central government really wants intellectual property rights to be respected, it will take some time before the mp3 search will be disabled. For Baidu it’s great way to force the music labels to negotiate a deal.
Baidu Bookmarks Social
Baidu enters the Social Bookmarking frenzy.
China Web 2.0 Review writes
The Summer of …
Porn is still a sensitive issue in China, on and offline. A daring entrepreneur stepped in the Chinese online porn wasteland but has to pay for it dearly.
He started the Qingseliuyuetian (pornographic summer) website in 2004 and opened a further three porn websites, attracting more than 600,000 users.
He was tracked down after, “a hospital website had changed to become the homepage of a porn website”.
He has been jailed for life.
Google Zeitgeist China September
Google Zeitgeist China has been updated with the September data. Most of the popular searches are, as before, related to entertainment. The seasonal search is for Teacher’s Day.
Blogger unblocked again
Lastly but not least, blogspot blogs can be read again in China. Recently they unblocked Wikipedia and once the world had written about it, they made it unavailable. It’s an ongoing saga, block, unblock and it won’t stop I’m afraid.
Gemme van Hasselt is an Internet Marketing Consultant, living in Shanghai, China. His musings on life can be found on China Snippets
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