Category Archives: Lifestyle

Largest Four-Day Workweek Trial Underway

Recently, there has been a demand by employees to cut back on days in the office. After two years of the pandemic, people want to work from home, spend more time with loved ones, and just have more flexibility in general. While many companies have adopted the hybrid model to accommodate these sentiments, some have taken a more extreme stance.

For the past 8 weeks, the world’s largest four-day workweek trial has been running in England. About 3,300 employees from 73 different companies have taken on the task of producing 100% while working only 80%, still earning their regular salary. And while this endeavor does come with some inherent challenges, an overwhelming majority of participants are absolutely loving it.

The program is being spearheaded by the nonprofit “4 Day Week Global.” Andrew Barnes, the organization’s founder, has been advocating for a four-day workweek since 2017. In his own organization’s trial, he found that when working four days instead of the traditional five-day model, his employees demonstrated a productivity rate 25% higher than before.

During the initial stages, many companies struggled to set themselves up for the experiment. Samantha Losey, managing director at Unity public relations firm, called the first week “chaotic.” However, she explained, she and her team quickly instituted some systems that enabled continued productivity throughout the four-day workweek. All internal meetings are limited to 5 minutes, while client meetings end after 30 minutes. A “traffic light” system ensures workers are not interrupted unnecessarily – if a colleague’s desk light is set to green, they’re available for a chat; if the light is orange, they’re busy but available if needed; and if the light is red, they cannot be disturbed.

In addition to positive reports from employers, participating employees have given very favorable feedback. Many are appreciative of the extra time they can devote to other important things in their lives besides for work, such as family, mental health, exercise, and extracurricular activities.

It will be interesting to see continued outcomes from the big four-day workweek trial as time goes on. The results may have life-changing outcomes on work-life balance, company culture, employers, and employees.

Nutritional Labels Found to Stump Shoppers

The good news is most American consumers want to eat healthy; the bad news is companies are not making that easy. In a recent study conducted by Attest, research showed that 60% of 2,000 surveyed shoppers are committed to living healthy lifestyles. They aim to buy nutritious products but 52% of the participants were concerned about the steep prices of foods said to contain special, healthy ingredients.

The survey also showed that food labels are highly misunderstood by consumers. Participants were asked to identify which of six different cereal bars was the healthiest choice. Only 9% chose the correct one, while 13% actually indicated the least healthy of the six options. Marketing slogans, such as “whole grain,” “100 calories,” or “naturally favored,” contributed to the confusion that the participants felt.

Jeremy King, founder and CEO of Attest, remarked that the results should be seen as a call to action for the food and beverage industry to reevaluate their marketing and labeling practices. King concluded: “This data shows that identifying real, healthy products appears to be a serious difficulty for American shoppers, as packaging messages simply aren’t accessible enough for consumers. With six-in-ten consumers actively looking to buy healthy food and beverage products, addressing this issue will be of significant benefit to the industry.”

When asked what would be most helpful in gaining clarity, shoppers agreed that packaging labels with straightforward nutritional information was a priority. Some added that coupons may entice people to try a product for the first time. Others wanted to see a stamp of approval from certified health officials on the product labels.

A Reason to Raise Your Spirits

Beam Suntory, one of the largest producers of distilled beverages in the world, has been working to shift its image to higher-end spirits. Its popular Knob Creek bourbon has sported a new look for the past three years, with an updated label design that has brought back its nine-year age statement, and a new line of 12-year and 15-year versions of the whisky. While prices once ranged from $25 to $50 per bottle, prices are now anywhere from $36 to $200. Following the company’s conscious efforts to step into the higher-end market, international sales reportedly rose 11% in 2021.

CEO Albert Baladi said in an interview: “Two years ago, in 2020, we weren’t as affected as a lot of companies, so the bounce back isn’t as strong as some of the other numbers that you’re still seeing, but still I think double-digits against 2019 is quite powerful.” Baladi continued to explain that the spirits industry generally does well even in times of economic crisis, and that raising prices encourages the company to continue upgrading its beverages. An advantage has been that customers are less sensitive to price hikes made to counterbalance inflation, as they’re pleased to pay more for higher-end drinks.

Ready to tap into another beverage line, Beam Suntory has announced plans to expand its ready-to-drink cocktail line and has partnered with Sam Adams brewer Boston Beer. Although unexpected, this trendy market line has proven lucrative and ranked as the fasting growing of any spirit category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Beam Suntory’s premixed brands Sauza and Truly Vodka will be released this spring.

Director Peter Farrelly Considers New Project

It’s always exciting to hear about a new project coming out of Hollywood, particularly when that project might include actor Eddie Redmayne and Director Peter Farrelly. Multiple sources have been reporting that an untitled new movie is in the works for Joe and Anthony Russo’s company AGBO. Eddie Redmayne has already been tapped to star in the movie, and now Director Peter Farrelly is being courted to direct it.

What’s the plan for the movie? Well Redmayne is supposed to play Christopher Wylie in this political thriller. Redmayne starred in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 and also finished Netflix’ thriller The Good Nurse.

Director Peter Farrelly has also been hard at work lately, basking in the Oscars he won for Green Book. He’s currently working on Apple’s move Th Greatest Beer Run Ever with Zac Efron and Russell Crowe.

It’s definitely worth paying attention to these plans as they unfold.

Business Tip: Leave New Jersey and Move to Utah

According to Wallethub, six out of the ten top US cities to start a small business are situated in Utah. The financial review and advice website looked at over 1,300 small American cities to see which of them create an excellent environment for small business growth and success. The website looked at 20 parameters to determine overall scores: accessible financing, human-resource availability, workforce education levels, office space costs, labor costs and others.

Here is the list of the ten top cities, and guess what? None of them are on the East or West coast.

  • St. George, Utah
  • Cedar City, Utah
  • Williston, North Dakota
  • Washington, Utah
  • Logan, Utah
  • Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Midvale, Utah
  • Fort Meyers, Florida
  • Clearfield, Utah
  • Bozeman, Montana

We will not list the ten worst cities, but it is enough to say that five of the ten are in New Jersey, and the other five are not all that far away in Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts.