Posts tagged with "Scotland"

The world’s biggest four-day work week pilot begins

June 8, 2022

Thousands of UK workers started a four-day work week on Monday, June 6, with no cut to their pay in the largest-ever trial of its kind, reports CNN.

The pilot—which has been designed to last for six months—involves 3,300 workers spanning 70 companies, ranging from providers of financial services to a fish-and-chip restaurant.

During the program, workers will receive 100% of their pay for working only 80% of their usual week, in exchange for promising to maintain 100% of their productivity.

The program is being run by not-for-profit 4 Day Week Global; Autonomy, a think tank; and the 4 Day Week UK Campaignl; in partnership with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College.

Sienna O’Rourke, brand manager at Pressure Drop Brewing, an independent brewery in London, told CNN Business that the company’s biggest goal was to improve the mental health and well-being of its employees.

“The pandemic [has] made us think a great deal about work and how people organize their lives,” she said. “We’re doing this to improve the lives of our staff and be part of a progressive change in the world.”

Given that the company manufactures and ships products, workers have less flexibility about when and where they work, O’Rourke said. But any difficulties in navigating holiday and sick leave would be tackled as a team.

Until now, Iceland had conducted the biggest pilot of a shorter working week (between 2015 and 2019), with 2,500 public sector workers involved in two large trials. Those trials found no corresponding drop in productivity among participants, and a dramatic increase in employee well-being.

Calls to shorten the working week have gathered steam in recent years in several countries. As millions of employees switched to remote work during the pandemic—cutting onerous commuting time and costs—calls for greater flexibility have only grown louder.

Government-backed trials are set to take place in Spain and Scotland later this year, the 4 Day Week Campaign said in a press release.

Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said that the workers have shown they can work “shorter and smarter.”

He notes, “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge.”

Researchers will measure the impact the new working pattern has on productivity levels, gender equality, and the environment; as well as worker well-being.

Research contact: @CNNBusiness

30×30: More than 80 nations pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030

November 3, 2021

On Tuesday, November 2, dozens of countries joined a United States and European Union pledge to cut emissions of methane—the most potent greenhouse gas—by 30% this decade, in the most significant climate commitment so far at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Agence France-Presse reports.

The initiative, which experts say could have a powerful short-term impact on global warming, followed an announcement earlier Tuesday in which more than 100 nations agreed to end deforestation by 2030.

“One of the most important things we can do between now and 2030, to keep 1.5C in reach, is reduce our methane emissions as soon as possible,” said U.S. President Joe Biden, referring to the central goal of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Biden called the pledge, which has so far been signed by more than 80 nations, a “game-changing commitment” that covered countries responsible for around half of global methane emissions.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the methane cut would “immediately slow down climate change”.

“We cannot wait until 2050. We have to cut emissions fast and methane is one of the gases we can cut the fastest,” she said.

Organizers say the ensuing shuttle diplomacy and painstaking negotiation will be crucial for the continued viability of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and its goal to limit temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

While the summit’s first day passed with much rhetoric but only lukewarm climate pledges, Tuesday’s twin announcements were broadly welcomed by campaigners.

Research contact: @AFP

It’s a dog’s life: Supermarket security guard goes viral for shielding pooch from rain with umbrella

July 8, 2020

Ethan Dearman, who patrols the parking lot of the Morrison’s grocery store in Gaffnock, Scotland is being hailed as an “everyday hero” after he was photographed holding an umbrella over a dog’s head in the rain, the Good News Network reports.

Since the sweet moment was captured and posted to Twitter by 25-year-old Mel Gracie last week, it has racked up thousands of tweeted responses, lauding Dearman for his kindness.

When Dearman was asked about the umbrella, he simply told Gracie: “You never know how dogs feels about the rain.”

This is apparently not the first time that Dearman has taken the time to show some love to his canine friends. After the photo was posted to social media, the dog’s owner came forward to identify the dog as Freddie and praised Dearman for his enduring kindness towards him and his family.

“Thanks to security man [Ethan Dearman] for putting the umbrella over Freddie when it started to rain!” tweeted Freddie’s owner David Cherry. “So kind! He’s always so nice to my brother Stuart, my dad, and our Freddie!”

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Release the clutch: Prolonged handshakes can trigger anxiety

January 16, 2020

When somebody has got you in his clutches, it’s usually not a good feeling, the Irish Examiner reports. In fact, based findings of a study conducted at the University of Dundee’s School of Social Sciences in Scotland, handshakes that are held for longer than three seconds can trigger anxiety, negatively impact business meetings, and affect the state of relationships.

There were two parts to the study. First, the 36 participants were interviewed about their work and career prospects. Then, they were introduced to a second researcher, who would either shake their hands in a “normal” fashion (for less than three seconds), in a “prolonged” way (for longer than three seconds)—or not at all.

The participants were unaware of the significance of the handshake throughout the study period, with their subsequent reactions analyzed.

Dr. Emese Nagy, a reader in Psychology who led the study, told the Examiner that the findings highlight the importance of introducing ourselves appropriately. She noted, “Handshakes are a particularly important greeting and can have long-lasting consequences for the relationships that we form.

“There has been evidence,” she said, “to suggest that many behaviors, such as hugs, fall within a window of approximately three seconds and this study has confirmed that handshakes that occur [within] this time frame feel more natural to those who participate in the greeting.

Nagy notes, “While shaking hands for longer may appear to be a warm gesture on the surface, we found that they negatively affected the behavior of the recipient, even after the handshake was finished.

“Politicians are particularly keen on prolonged handshakes, which are often used an expression of warmth but also as a means of demonstrating authority. However, our findings suggest that while doing so might look impressive for the cameras, this behavior could potentially jeopardize the quality of their working and personal relationships from the beginning, which could have repercussions for millions of people.”

The team found that participants showed less interactional enjoyment after the longer handshake—laughing less and showing increased anxiety. Handshakes lasting less than three seconds resulted in less subsequent smiling, but did feel more natural to those who participated.

No behavioral changes were associated with the no-handshake control experiment.

Research contact: @irishexaminer