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Exclusive: The four-day working week: What HR and People leaders need to know –



The four-day working week: What HR and People leaders need to know

#fourday #working #week #People #leaders

We’re all obsessed with telling people how busy we are.

We love to wax lyrical about how there are never enough hours in the day for everything we need to do.

However, this can heavily impact on many employees’ holy grail: work-life balance.

Yet, longer hours don’t necessarily mean greater productivity. In fact, our research revealed that one in three full-time employees admit to being productive for less than 30 hours a week.

That’s a whole day lost to lack of productivity per working week.

In fact, despite working the longest hours in Europe, Britain is among the least productive.

The US sits at number eight on the productivity ranking by hours worked – much higher than the UK, but still has some way to knocking Luxembourg off the top spot.

So, are we better losing that fifth day at work all together?

A four-day working week not only makes workers happier, but more productive too according to recent studies. And vitally, 51% of employees say they’d welcome a four-day working week.


And with more than 3,300 employees from 70 UK businesses participating in a four-day work week trial, which began in June 2022 and runs for six months, the topic is certainly on the radar.

Here’s everything HR and People leaders need to know about a four-day working week.

Here’s what we cover:

What does a four-day working week mean?

It means exactly what it says on the tin. Instead of the traditional five-day working week, employees would work four days instead.

In the UK there’s a four-day working week campaign that believes “a four-day week will benefit our society, our economy, our environment and our democracy”.

It has the backing of many organisations and unions, including the UK’s Trade Union Council (TUC), which says reducing working time for workers, employers and the country as a whole has the potential to bring about huge benefits that ultimately bolster the economy.

However, it’s not just the UK pushing the four-day week agenda. A growing number of countries are facing calls that the four-day week is the answer to increased productivity.

How could a four-day week help the economy?

The Institute for Labor Economics says working longer invokes the law of diminishing returns, with productivity dropping after the 35th hour of weekly work.

Aidan Harper, a researcher at the New Economics Foundation, says there’s a clear relationship between overwork, poor wellbeing, mental illness and poor productivity.

“All of these things are very, very closely linked, and overwork is pretty awful for you in terms of mental health and your ability to a) work quickly and b) produce a high quality of work,” he explains.

What examples are there of the four-day week working successfully?

In the US, a technology start-up called Wildbit, founded by former Google employees, switched to a four-day week after its CEO, Natalie Nagele, learnt that most people can only really do around four hours of meaningful, cognitively focused work in a day.


“I looked at that and said, okay, as a team, where can we cut back,” she explains. “If we can do the same work in 32 hours and get an extra day off, that would be beneficial to our personal lives and our ability to recharge, so let’s just test it out.”

Scottish firm Pursuit Marketing also implemented a four-day working week and said the switch to four days led to a staggering 30% increase in productivity.

Possibly one of the most surprising examples of the four-day week is for Japanese car company, Toyota. Its Swedish car factory saw increased customer satisfaction alongside higher productivity.

The factory cut its staff’s weekly hours from 40 to 30 hours and saw an uplift of 114% of what they used to produce, which increased profits by 25%.

The managing director of the factory, Martin Banck, said there’s been significant positive change as a result of the shift to shorter hours.

He said: “Staff feel better, there is lower turnover and it is easier to recruit new people. They have a shorter travel time to work, there is more efficient use of the machines and lower capital costs—everyone is happy.”

What do HR and People teams need to know to implement a four-day working week?

For companies considering the swap to a four-day working week, the advice is to implement a trial before pushing out company wide.

Perpetual Guardian said it would be switching to a four-day week following a successful eight-week trial, finding that it increased productivity by 20%.

Whether a four-day working week is right for your company depends on many factors:

  • Do employees want to reduce their hours?
  • How would working different, or longer hours, affect childcare?
  • Is your business set up to allow for this different working pattern?
  • Would you be able to implement this fairly across all areas of the company?

Flexibility is a fantastic benefit that many employees look for from their employer, so having this as an option should make your company more desirable to talent.

In addition, switching to a four-day working week could be a big change, so you might want to consider other options that allow for greater flexibility within your workforce as well as, or instead of a four day working week.

For example, do you offer the option of working compressed hours? What is your approach to working from home? Can you support working parents with more flexible hours that fit in around school times and vacations?


Many employers can look at these areas to support their workforce to become happier and more productive – without necessarily having to switch to a four-day working week.

Is a four-day working week the future of work?

The way we work is changing.

However, it’s not about jumping headfirst into the four-day week. Although it’s a great benefit for attracting talent, think about your current employees first.

Ask them what would make them more productive; don’t assume this is what they want. It’s not the only way to create a better work-life balance for your employees.

Would they rather be given the flexibility to manage their own hours across the week? Would they rather work from home? The only way you’ll know the answer to these questions is if you ask them.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in November 2020 and has been updated for relevance.


Exclusive: Sweetgreen's stock plummets after salad chain lowers forecast, announces layoffs and office downsizing –




Sweetgreen's stock plummets after salad chain lowers forecast, announces layoffs and office downsizing

#Sweetgreen039s #stock #plummets #salad #chain #lowers #forecast #announces #layoffs #office #downsizing

A worker wears a Sweetgreen Inc. hat while preparing food inside the company’s restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts.

Adam Glanzman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of Sweetgreen plunged more than 20% in extended trading Tuesday after the salad chain lowered its 2022 forecast.

The restaurant company also said it laid off 5% of its support center workforce and will downsize to a smaller office building to lower its operating expenses.

As of Tuesday’s close, Sweetgreen’s stock has fallen 37% since its initial public offering in November.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Loss per share: 36 cents, in line with estimates
  • Revenue: $124.9 million vs. $130.2 million expected

Sweetgreen sales softened around Memorial Day, leading the company to revise its forecast lower, CFO Mitch Reback said in a statement.

On the company’s conference call, executives attributed the slowdown to a number of factors, including “unprecedented levels of summer travel,” a slow return to the office and another wave of new Covid-19 cases.

In the quarter, ended June 26, Sweetgreen’s net sales rose 45% to $124.9 million. Its same-store sales climbed 16%, boosted by 6% menu price hikes.


For the year, Sweetgreen now expects annual revenue of $480 million to $500 million, down from its prior forecast of $515 million to $535 million. The chain also revised its outlook for same-store sales, predicting growth of 13% to 19%, down from the previous projection of 20% to 26%.

“We think that it’s a conservative estimate, but looking back, we’ve just been wrong on so many of these calls,” Reback said on the call.

Moreover, Sweetgreen also changed its outlook for adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to a range of $45 million to $35 million, wider than its previous range of $40 million to $33 million.

But the chain explained the steps it’s taking to achieve profitability, including layoffs and reducing its real estate footprint by moving to a smaller office. Severance packages and related benefits are expected to cost the company between $500,000 to $800,000, while the office move will cost $8.4 million to $9.9 million. The charges are expected to impact its third-quarter results.

Sweetgreen reported a second-quarter net loss of $40 million, or 36 cents per share, wider than a net loss of $26 million, or $1.55 per share, a year earlier. The company blamed an increase in stock-based compensation for its increasing losses.

Read the full earnings report here.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Sweetgreen’s previous forecast for its same-store sales growth.

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Exclusive: Egyptian startup Convertedin raises $3M, caters to e-commerce brands in MENA and Latin America –




Egyptian startup Convertedin raises $3M, caters to e-commerce brands in MENA and Latin America

#Egyptian #startup #Convertedin #raises #caters #ecommerce #brandsin #MENA #Latin #America

Convertedin, an Egyptian startup that operates a marketing operating system for e-commerce brands, has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Saudi Arabia-headquartered Merak Capital.

Other participating investors include 500 Global and MSAS. The company, in a statement, said it plans to utilize the funds for strategic hiring and further development of its platform.

When brands shift to e-commerce sales, they operate with vast amounts of fragmented data that need to be unified to drive informed decisions and growth. As such, platforms like Convertedin become essential because it caters to brands and businesses with one, some, or all of these objectives: drive personalized and scalable campaigns, convert customers, achieve measurable results and grow revenue.

CEO Mohamed Fergany founded the company with Mohamed Atef and Mustafa Raslan in 2019 after working with several brands in companies such as Speakol Ads and Vodafone. His time as an employee opened his eyes to the opportunity of helping offline stores retarget and retain their customers online while finding new ones to shop at their stores offline.

“If you walk into IKEA and they take your phone number down. After that, our engine works to find a similar product you might buy and we retarget you online. If you went back to IKEA for that product, we can calculate the cost of online conversion,” the chief executive said in the interview. “This was the main idea at this time as we saw a huge problem where there was no analytics platform for the offline store or a retargeting mechanism.”

As the pandemic hit and offline stores were forced to close their doors, many of these brands turned to e-commerce, and as a result, Convertedin took its business online too.

Fergany argues that though online brands use CRM software to gather data, they do not utilize most of it. So Convertedin offers a solution where they can use their data best. It plugs into more than 10 major e-commerce platforms and ad networks — and brands, once connected, can place customers into different segments such as high- and low-value and categories like those looking for specific products and use these insights to create personalized multi-channel marketing and drive various campaigns on social media, SMS, email, search and other channels while having the ability to track and attribute revenue conversion.

Convertedin says SMB e-commerce marketers that use its platform increase their return on ad spend (ROAS) by 2x and reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) by 40%. So far, the company partners with media buying and advertising agencies and works with over 100 local and multinational brands across Africa, the Middle East and South America in the automotive, healthcare and technology industries. Convertedin’s revenues from these businesses have been growing in “double-digits” month-over-month, Fergany said.


The three-year-old Egypt-headquartered company also has offices in Saudi Arabia and Brazil; it just recently opened one in the latter. The South American market is enormous, with e-commerce revenues reaching $160 billion by 2025 from over 200 million users. As a result, Convertedin plans to make its services available in Portuguese — in addition to English and Arabic — for brands in Brazil and also Mexico, another South American market. Fergany also said Convertedin is eyeing South Africa and India too.

“We focus on emerging markets and if you look at it from healthy unit economics, we can sell easily in those countries because there is low competition there,” said the CEO on the expansion to five new markets, including Saudi Arabia. “And customer acquisition cost is low compared to the U.S. or Europe markets.” The new investment will help Convertedin with this expansion in addition to R&D and hiring.

In a statement, Ahmed Aljibreen, partner at lead investor Merak Capital, addressing his firm’s investment, said the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing platforms adds a new layer of challenges for e-commerce companies — and that Convertedin solves that. Hence, the reason why Merak Capital backed the firm. “We are excited to back Convertedin, a martech company that has built a state-of-the-art platform to simplify digital marketing, improve customer acquisition and drive growth for its clients. Convertedin is led by a world-class team in which we have tremendous confidence as the company embarks on its next stage of growth in MENA and Latin America.”

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Exclusive: Serena Williams announces her retirement from tennis –




Serena Williams announces her retirement from tennis

#Serena #Williams #announces #retirement #tennis

Tennis legend Serena Williams announced her retirement in a Vogue article published Tuesday.

“I have never liked the word ‘retirement,’” Williams wrote. “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is ‘evolution.’ I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

Williams, who turns 41 next month, has 73 career singles titles, 23 career doubles titles and over $94 million in career winnings.

Williams is widely hailed as one of the greatest athletes of all time. In her Vogue piece, she noted that some of her detractors point out that she hasn’t won the most Grand Slam titles in women’s tennis history, however. 

“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I didn’t pass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the ‘open era’ that began in 1968,” Williams wrote. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record.”

She said she will retire after the U.S. Open, which will run from late August into September. A victory there would tie her with Court’s Grand Slam record.

“I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try,” Williams wrote about the tournament, which is played in Queens.

She has counted sponsorships from companies including Nike, Audemars Piguet, Away, Beats, Bumble, Gatorade, Gucci, Lincoln, Michelob, Nintendo, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Procter and Gamble.


“I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams wrote. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.”

Williams focused on her family in the announcement, writing that her nearly five-year-old daughter wants to be an older sister. Williams is married to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.

“I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday.

Professionally, she looks to expand Serena Ventures, a small investment firm of six people that was one of the first investors in MasterClass. Her firm raised $111 million in outside financing this year.

Williams wrote that only 2% of venture capital goes to women and that “in order for us to change that, more people who look like me need to be in that position, giving money back to themselves.”

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