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4-day work week: how the world’s greatest experiment is changing people’s lives

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The six-month pilot project in the UK involves 3,300 workers in 70 companies working 80% of a normal week. Companies explain how they adapted. And the workers talk about changing lives.

The workers are tired.

More than two years after the pandemic, many burn out“Burned out,” quit their jobs, or struggle to survive as record inflation cuts their pay dramatically.

But over the past eight weeks, thousands of people in the UK have tested a four-day schedule – without a pay cut – that could help usher in a new era of work.

It is the world’s largest four-day work week experience to date. Some workers say they feel happier, healthier and better at their jobs.

“Life Change”

Lisa Gilbert, loan services manager at Charity Bank, an ethical lending bank in the south west of England, describes her new daily routine as “phenomenal”.

“Now I can really enjoy the weekend because I have Friday for housework and other little things or… if I just want to go out with my mom, I can do it now without feeling guilty,” she says. CNN.

Lisa Gilbert, Loan Services Manager at Charity Bank, is enjoying her extra day on the Thames in London.

Gilbert takes care of his son and two elderly parents. The extra day off per week means she no longer has to pick up groceries at 6 am on Saturday and can spend more time with her family. “I think I’m saying ‘yes we can’ rather than ‘no, we’re sorry we can’,” he says.

The six-month pilot project involves 3,300 workers in 70 companies working 80% of their regular week in exchange for a promise to maintain 100% productivity.

The program is being led by non-profit think tank 4 Day Week Global, Autonomy and the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, in partnership with researchers from the University of Cambridge, Oxford University and Boston College.

The researchers will measure the impact the new labor standard will have on productivity levels, gender equality, the environment, and the well-being of workers. At the end of November, companies can decide whether to keep the new schedule.

But for Gilbert, the verdict is already in: he “changed lives,” he says.

“Really chaotic”

However, the transition was not without setbacks.

Samantha Losey, managing director of London-based public relations agency Unity, told CNN the first week was “truly chaotic” as her team was unprepared for shorter transfers.

“To be completely honest with you, those first two weeks were a real mess. We were all over the store. I thought I made a huge mistake. I didn’t know what I was doing,” she says.

But his team quickly found ways to make the week work. Now the company has banned all internal meetings lasting more than five minutes, all meetings with clients are limited to 30 minutes, and in order to avoid unnecessary disruptions, they have introduced a “traffic light” system – colleagues have a traffic light on their desk, and they turn it on. to “green” if they are available to talk, “orange” if they are busy but able to talk, and “red” if they don’t want to be interrupted.

PR agency Unity in London has implemented a “traffic light” system: Employees have a traffic light on their desktop that they switch to “green” if they want to talk and to “orange” if they are busy but available to talk. speak and “red” if they don’t want to be interrupted.

By week four, Losey said her team had done their best, but she admits there is “absolutely” a chance she could recover the five-day schedule if performance levels dropped during the six-month trial period.

“There’s a good 25% chance we won’t be able to keep it. [a semana de quatro dias]but the team is still incredibly fighting for her,” she said.

“Like a library”

Until last month, Iceland was running the world’s largest four-day workweek pilot project. Between 2015 and 2019, the country sent 2,500 public sector workers on two trials.

It is important to note that these experiments did not lead to a corresponding drop in productivity and a dramatic improvement in the welfare of workers.

Gary Conroy, founder and CEO of 5 Squirrels, a skincare manufacturer on the south coast of England, has brought in the concept of “deep hours” to keep his employees productive.

Gary Conroy (right), founder and CEO of 5 Squirrels, a skincare manufacturer, has established “deep working hours” at his company to boost productivity.

For two hours each morning and two hours each day, Conroy’s team ignores emails, calls, or messages from teams and focuses on their projects.

“The whole office is like a library and everyone just lowers their heads and breaks their work,” he said.

According to a survey of 10,600 workers conducted by Asana last September, people spend most of their day in “busy work” mode – they really work for the sake of work. A software company found that workers in the United States spend about 58% of their day doing activities like answering emails and attending meetings rather than doing the job they were hired for.

Meetings at the company used to be a “conversation” but are now limited to 30 minutes and only allowed for two hours outside of “business hours,” Conroy said.

The results exceeded all expectations.

“[A equipa] began to realize that they were crushing projects that they had always put on the back burner,” Conroy said.

“Relevant to the 21st century”

The extra day has given many workers the opportunity to pursue new hobbies, pursue long-held ambitions, or simply spend more time in their relationships.

The workers in the pilot took cooking classes, piano lessons, volunteering, fishing and ice skating, their employers told CNN.

For Emily Morrison, director of customer experience at Unity, who has struggled with anxiety for most of her adult life, the benefits were more fundamental.

“More downtime and fewer weekend fears helped me improve my mental health and approach the week with more positivity rather than stress,” he told CNN.

Emily Morrison is the Account Director at Unity, a public relations agency based in London, UK.

More than two years after the pandemic, dozens of workers have reached their breaking point. A survey last year by McKinsey of 5,000 employees around the world found that almost half of them reported feeling at least a little burnt out. [“burned-out”].

Losey said one of the main reasons he decided to bring Unity into the pilot project was to compensate for the “extreme burnout” his people experienced during the worst of the pandemics.

Mark Howland, director of marketing and communications for Charity Bank, told CNN he uses his day off to improve his health and fitness. He always wanted to compete in a triathlon, but felt guilty about spending time away from his family to train. Not now.

“On my day off, I would ride my bike for a long time, take care of myself, find time, and then spend the whole weekend doing household chores and spending time with my family,” Howland said.

It is unlikely that the bank will return to what it was before.

“The five-day work week is a 20th century concept that no longer fits the 21st century,” he concluded.

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Used on battlefields and rocket launchers. What tactical nuclear weapons can Putin use in Ukraine? – Observer

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Since the beginning of the war, Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian territory. The Russian president has said he is ready to use such weapons, raising fears that he could use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

As Russian troops lose ground in Ukraine, especially in the city of Liman, it is Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s turn to say that Moscow should consider using limited-range nuclear weapons in the occupied country.

A tactic smaller than strategic nuclear weapons was designed for use on the battlefield or limited attack, such as destroying a column of tanks or other military installations.

According to the BBC, these types of small nuclear warheads are designed to engage enemy targets without causing widespread dispersal of radioactivity. With an explosion power of 10 to 100 kilotons of dynamite, this weapon also called “low power”..

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Nord Stream: Anthony Blinken called Putin’s accusations about the pipeline “absurd and outrageous”

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“I have nothing to add to these absurd statements by President Putin that we or our allied partners are somehow responsible for this,” Blinken said at a press conference.

The head of the US diplomatic mission once again condemned the “scandalous disinformation campaign” of Russia.

At the conference, along with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly, the American said he did not intend to prejudge the “ongoing investigation” into the origin of the explosions that led to leaks in gas pipelines, but assured that he was in “close contact with the Europeans on this issue.

The head of the Russian state today, during his speech in the Kremlin after the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, accused Western representatives of being behind the “explosions” that caused large leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines built for transporting Russian gas towards Europe.

“By organizing explosions on international gas pipelines crossing the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they actually began to destroy the European energy infrastructure,” he condemned, attributing this “sabotage” to the “Anglo-Saxons”.

Vladimir Putin also stressed that the United States is “pressing” on European countries so that they completely stop Russian gas supplies “in order to capture the European market.”

Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the European Union (EU) and NATO said this week that the Nord Stream leaks were due to “deliberate acts” and “sabotage”.

For its part, the Kremlin called “meaningless and absurd” European accusations that Russia could be held responsible for the damage found in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.

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Ukraine on Tuesday blamed Russia for the pipeline leak, condemning a “terrorist attack” against the European Union (EU).

The first Nord Stream, capable of pumping 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, was halted after Russia claimed an oil leak at the only Russian compressor station still in operation.

On the other hand, Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation due to the blockade of infrastructure by Berlin even before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

However, both pipelines are filled with gas and therefore must maintain a stable pressure.

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“Victory will be ours!” Putin assured on Red Square

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“Victory will be ours!” shouted the President of Russia to the applause of a crowd of thousands.

“Welcome home!” – Putin said, addressing the residents of the annexed Ukrainian territories, believing that they “returned to their historical homeland.”

“Russia does not just open the doors of its home to people, it opens its heart,” he said from a stage specially installed on the symbolic square near the Kremlin wall (the residence of the President of Russia).

Many Russian flags fluttered among the crowd in attendance, and some people also wore black and orange striped St. George ribbons, an old tsarist military award that became a symbol of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Several giant screens and a powerful sound system were also installed so that people could follow the speech of the President of Russia and the performance of various Russian pop stars who performed on stage.

The Russian head of state, in power for 22 years, referred to a “special, historic day of truth and justice” at a time when Russian soldiers are “heroically defending the people’s choice” in Ukraine, he said.

“We will do everything to support our brothers and sisters in Zaporozhye, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk, improve their security, restart the economy, restore,” he also said, hours after signing the annexation of these four Ukrainian regions, in a ceremony in the Kremlin.

After this symbolic act in the Kremlin, which was a new step in his war against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a neighboring country, Putin defended his mantra with a raised microphone that Russia created modern Ukraine.

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“I can’t help but remember how the Soviet Union was formed. It was Russia that created modern Ukraine, transferring significant territories there, the historical territories of Russia itself along with the population,” Putin said.

“We are stronger because we are together. The truth is with us, and there is strength,” Putin said, adding once again: “Then victory will be ours!”

Kyiv and its Western allies have widely condemned such an annexation, with NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Western defense bloc) classifying it as “illegitimate” and the countries of the European Union (EU) and the G7 (a group of the most industrialized countries in the world : Germany, Canada, USA, France, Italy, Japan and the UK) declared that they would “never recognize [tais] alleged annexations.

Putin has no intention of visiting the four Ukrainian regions now annexed by Moscow in the midst of a military conflict with Kyiv, a Kremlin spokesman said.

“Not yet, because at the moment there is a lot of work ahead, but this will definitely happen after some time,” said Dmitry Peskov, who was quoted by Russian news agencies and asked about the possibility of such a visit.

The four occupied regions of Ukraine, whose annexation treaties Putin signed today, make up about 15% of Ukraine’s territory – Donetsk and Lugansk (which he had already recognized as independent republics shortly before the invasion of Ukraine), Kherson and Zaporozhye (which hosts the largest nuclear power plant in Europe). ).

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine has already caused the flight of more than 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and more than 7.5 million to European countries – according to the latest UN figures, which rank this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

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The Russian invasion, justified by Putin as the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community as a whole, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions against Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed since the beginning of the war, which entered its 219th day today, 5,996 civilians killed and 8,848 wounded, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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