3 Good Things: Four-day weeks, a platinum role model and help-desk kindness

(Karlotta Freier / For The Times)

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number one

Work smarter, not longer

Employees of 70 companies in the U.K. are pioneers in an enviable experiment: If salaries remain the same, can employees maintain the same productivity in a four-day week that they used to achieve in five? The 3,300 workers participating will be interviewed about their work-life balance, health, travel and more, while the employers report data to researchers about output. “We believe that by giving our staff a better work-life balance they can work more efficiently and effectively,” a spokesman for one participating restaurant said. If his theory proves correct, maybe the idea will catch on with an employer near you.


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number two

Redemption

Everyone makes mistakes. Even Lizzo. The pop goddess recently released a song containing a word that was casually tossed about in middle schools of the late 1990s, a slang term for “spastic.” Not good. An activist on Twitter summed up the reaction to this ableist slur: “It’s 2022. Do better.”

And you know what? She did. Lizzo not only apologized, but also recorded a new version of the song, rewriting that line. “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me,” she said. “I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.” Yes. Thank you, Lizzo. Humanity doesn’t deserve you.


number three

Five stars, would recommend

There’s “good customer service,” and then there’s this:

That’s some next-level compassion and kindness. Sure, this publicity is probably already paying off for Chewy, but that’s beyond fine. I hope more companies will do well by being good.

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And one more ...

Look up at night sometime before Monday, and you just might get a rare sight: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will appear in a row, something that won’t happen again until 2040. No field trip or telescope required. These heavenly bodies are so bright they should be visible even from cities.