Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

4-day workweeks are the future — and this is how you can make them happen


Jakkii says: I’m a huge fan of anything and everything we can do to enhance balance in our life when it comes to work and non-work. ‘Work-life balance’ is kind of an odd term when it comes to knowledge work as I’m not convinced they’re that separate and discrete – knowledge work inherently relies upon our minds and our knowledge which we don’t just leave behind when we head home for the day – if we even work in an office at all!

As someone who’s a big champion for flexibility for all (and is fortunate enough to work in a workplace with likeminded people on this issue), I love the idea of a four-day workweek. I know I’m not the only one who loves this concept though, right?? Being able to fulfil your work effectively and productively in four days instead of five, leaving us with three full days off per week sounds like a utopia in a world where we not only work 5 days a week, but often slog through extra hours and, in some cases, even put in time on the weekends. Moving away from counting time (which too often only seems to go one way, in favour of the employer) to measuring outcomes as the yardstick by which we hire, remunerate and reward employees might help us go a long way towards making four-day workweeks a thing.

In fact, the author of this article thinks four-day workweeks are the ‘next big thing’. The meat of the article is more of a light overview than a deep-dive into how to make four-day workweeks happen in your workplace, but it’s worth a read if you’ve an interest in disruption of our traditional notions of work and ideas as to what working might look like in the near future. Or a handy one to bookmark if you’re looking to stock up on any and all evidence to make your business case as to why you should start working a four-day workweek at a full-time salary. 


Uber Works is Tinder for blue-collar jobs, and it’s launching this week


Jakkii says: Still on the subject of the future of work, the gig economy is about to take on a new player: Uber Works, which The Next Week describes as “Tinder for blue-collar jobs.”

The ride-hailing company said today it is going to launch a new app called Uber Works this Friday. The app matches blue-collar workers such as clerks and chefs with companies that are looking for professionals to join their workforce on temporary and ad-hoc bases.

You may have seen in the news over the past while the challenges Uber and Uber drivers have faced over how it defines its drivers – as contractors, not employees. In the case of Uber Works, it looks like they’ve taken steps to ensure those who use the app are treated as employees by the staffing agencies who hire them:

The app will provide information on pay, location and working conditions. Workers can also use it to track working hours and breaks, the firm said.

Employers would be able to tap into a ready pool of “vetted and qualified” temporary labour, Uber said.

It’ll be interesting to watch this space with regards to Uber Works, including uptake and use as well as any controversy. Whether or not the gig economy is ‘the future’, entrusting it to companies with precarious reputations such as Uber seems fraught at best. For the sake of people who choose (or need) to find work through Uber Works, let’s at least hope that concern turns out to be largely misplaced.


Queensland lifesavers using Wi-Fi to lure people back between the flags after spike in drownings


Joel says: During the searing heat of the Australian summer, many families love to go and spend the day at the beach. Though, because it’s the time most of us head in to cool off, it’s also the biggest period throughout the year for drownings.

In an effort to combat the number of fatalities on Queensland beaches, Surf Life Saving Queensland is taking preventative action and has come up with a new plan to try and help people stay safe on our shores.

The plan involves getting people on-board and doing the right thing by using their love of the internet. The tool, called Life-Fi activates a WiFi network that is only available between the beach’s red and yellow flags.

But it doesn’t just provide beach-goers access to the internet. Life-Fi will also show users the beach conditions and warn them of potential dangers in the water and can offer foreign tourists warnings in their native language.

The Life-Fi systems will be used this summer on Queensland beaches with the goal of keeping people within the flags. Of course, this campaign won’t completely eliminate drownings in Queensland but it could be a good step in raising awareness of beach conditions through people’s love of always being connected.

Check out more about the campaign as well as learn how lifeguards are also using drone technology on the beaches in the full article.


This Clever Gel Works Like a Vaccine for Wildfires


Helen says: My reading interest this week follows the same theme as Joel – heat and innovation. It also provides a great example of being imaginative and experimental to better prepare us for an unpredictable event. With widespread drought and devastating fires so early in the season across our vast country, I was excited to read about the proposition of a vaccine for fires.

A materials scientist, and his fire prevention forester brother-in-law, came up with the clever idea of treating a fire with gel in the same way gel is used to transport vaccines through the human body. The solution they have developed can be sprayed onto surfaces and retard their flammability for extended periods. Heavy rainfall will wash it away but that’s OK given that rain is the perfect substitute. Initial testing has shown the substance to be non-toxic but further environmental impact studies will need to be completed before the product is released.

Full details of the research can be found in an article published in PNAS.


Want better feedback? Ask for advice


Jakkii says: It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? If you want to receive better feedback, ask for advice instead. But, why is that so? This article covers research into the topic and suggests that when we ask for feedback, people naturally go into an ‘evaluation’ mode. It’s ‘how did you do?’ and not, ‘what could you do differently?’ Asking for advice helps shift people into a future focus, i.e. away from ‘how did you do’ and into ‘what could you do differently next time.’ Upon reflection, this makes perfect sense – the goal of feedback in most cases is to improve future performance, so it makes sense to frame this in a way that most helps people provide suggestions to that end. The article does caution, however, that feedback is sometimes more useful than advice for novices as they may not feel equipped to implement advice.

A quick Google search shows there are plenty of strategies out there for improving the quality of feedback you receive, but I quite like the simplicity of this one by simply reframing what you’re actually asking. What’s your go-to strategy for getting useful feedback to improve? 


This Week in Social Media

Politics, democracy and regulation

Privacy and data

Cybersecurity and safety

Society and culture

Extremism and hate speech

Moderation and misinformation

Marketing, media, advertising and PR


Facebook’s Libra and Calibra

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: part one of a special with Simon Kemp on the State of Digital. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

Our guest: Simon Kemp, CEO of Kepios

The stories this week

The State of Digital: April 2019 report

Other stories we bring up

Simon’s articles on We Are Social

Wall Street Journal article on voice search in emerging markets


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