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Why You Need to Consider Implementing the 4-Day Workweek

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The four-day workweek concept isn’t new. New Zealand and many European countries have proven it successful over recent years. Yet, with the shift to hybrid work and the need for increased flexibility, more companies are rethinking the work week. One study showed that 40% of companies have implemented or are beginning to implement a four-day workweek.

Having managed my diversity speaking business for eight years, my organization is trying the four-day workweek in 2023. We studied the benefits, discussed our preferences and decided as a team to commit to the shift. As with any change, we anticipate there will be challenges short-term and are hopeful about the long-term results.

Research shows the four-day workweek boosts productivity, improves retention and increases access to diverse talent. This work schedule is more attractive to those that are caregivers, younger employees, those from different socioeconomic classes and those with disabilities.

According to Four-Day Week, organizations with successful implementation take into account the differing preferences of their employees with the flexibility to co-create their work schedule. LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey, which surveyed 19,000 workers in 2022, found that for 54% of people, the four-day workweek is among their top three priorities when it comes to workplace benefits. Support is especially strong for the younger generation of workers, with 62% of both millennials and Gen Z supporting the shift. The four-day week was also more popular among women (57%) than among men (51%).

One wrinkle to this — most senior leadership teams have significantly lower interest in four-day work weeks at just 43%.

What does it take to boost diversity and inclusion with the four-day workweek?

Related: The Case for a 4-Day Work Week

Ditch the “traditional worker” mindset

Most senior-level leaders grew up under the “traditional worker” mindset where men were more likely to occupy leadership roles with stay-at-home partners to help with tasks outside of work. The preference for workers to always be “on,” respond to emails right away, be visible in the office for more hours, have back-to-back meeting schedules and emphasize being busy over actual results is outdated. The “traditional worker” model needs to shift from the four-day workweek to work.

For women that are caregivers, folks with disabilities and those from different cultures and backgrounds, it is more difficult to fit into a culture that reveres the “traditional worker.” Burnout and turnover are much higher for leaders in diversity work. More flexible work environments are known to create more psychological safety for workers with different backgrounds and reduce the number of microaggressions they face.

Barnes‘ organization, which is working with university researchers to test the four-day week across different industries, promotes the 100/80/100 model: 100% productivity, 80% of the time, with 100% pay.

Oftentimes people don’t reduce their workloads, they’re simply more intentional and efficient with the time they have when they lose one working day. People are forced to evaluate trade-offs and set clear priorities instead of saying yes to everything.

Related: This is What It’s Actually Like to Work a 4-Day Workweek

Be clear on what good performance looks like

Instead of glorifying the “traditional worker,” have objective criteria to measure performance. Reduce meetings by asking “could this meeting be an email,” set clear boundaries on business hours and do not reward work done outside of those business hours.

Teams that flourish in the four-day workweek have a concise set of documented goals and expectations. They know what is in scope for their role and out of scope for their role. They have the confidence to push back on work outside of their job descriptions.

Also, encourage employees to set healthy boundaries based on their primary job responsibilities. Normalize pushing back when people ask more from you with clever phrases like, “If I helped you, I’d be letting others down” or “I would be unable to do a good job on your project and my other work would suffer.”

As a leader, paint a picture of what good looks like. Measure performance objectively based on specific, measurable data to set your team up for success. For example, my team does quarterly key performance indicators (KPIs). Each team member selects three broad goals with specific tactics that are easy to measure completion on. We evaluate them at the end of each quarter to inform quarterly bonuses and pay increases.

Related: Want to Work A 4-Day Workweek? Here’s What It Takes

Do a trial run

If your team is skeptical about the four-day workweek, try it first. Set an expectation for a time period for the trial, define what success looks like and gather perspectives at the end of the trial. My team has committed to our trial period at the start of the year. We are shifting to longer hours Monday through Thursday, proactively managing expectations with our clients and blocking time on our calendars for critical tasks aligned with our KPIs.

We also looked ahead to the year and blocked time off when we know we are traditionally slow. We plan to take time off on holiday weeks, summertime and spring and fall break times. That way we can be available when our clients are traditionally busier by proactively planning our work schedules around past known seasonality.

One of the few downfalls to the four-day workweek is time for creative work for folks with diverse backgrounds. With less time to wonder and banter with colleagues informally, the status quo can endure. Innovation time should also be prioritized and fit into the new work week. Our team schedules regular creative project time throughout the month to remind us to continue to rethink work.

Flexible work environments like the four-day workweek are known to help diversify workplaces. With this new model, our team hopes to retain our diverse team and also attract more talent from diverse backgrounds.

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10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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