Four-day working week: share your experiences and views | Money

Moving to a four day week: is it the ideal way to achieve a better work-life balance or simply a luxury incompatible with the modern world? We’re looking to explore questions around the idea and gather your perspectives for an upcoming article. In September, the head of the TUC said advances in technology mean that a four-day week working week is a realistic goal for most people by the end of this century. “We can win a four-day working week,…

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A 4.30am start and three-minute toilet breaks: are you ready for microscheduling? | Life and style

Work is one of the biggest sources of stress in our lives, second only to health problems, according to a survey for the Mental Health Foundation last year. What work and productivity coaches call “overwhelm” is widespread, as notifications, conversations, distractions and interruptions all get in the way of actually getting stuff done. And not getting stuff done because you are overwhelmed is sure only to make matters worse. One response favoured by productivity gurus is microscheduling – creating a…

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Denying loans to students with weaker A-levels will ‘penalise poor families’ | Education

Plans to deny student loans to those with lower A-level grades would hit poor families in regions where social mobility is already stalling, data obtained by Education Guardian shows. In the north-east a third of students who would be denied a university education come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Four months ago, the education secretary, Damian Hinds, launched Opportunity North East, a £24m campaign to raise aspirations and stop children in the region feeling they’ve been “left behind”. But the…

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Who’s going to care about the women being forced out of work? | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

What would drive thousands of people a year out of jobs they love, or need, with no certainty about whether they will ever be able to come back? If you have parents of a certain age, you might already have guessed the answer. About 600 people a day are giving up their jobs to look after elderly or sick relatives, the charity Carers UK estimates, a hidden exodus from working life that we don’t discuss nearly enough. Young women are…

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Why we must resist the cult of ‘performative workaholism’ | Money

#ThankGodIt’sMonday! This is the rallying cry of a new movement of work obsessives, according to a widely shared opinion piece on “performative workaholism” in the New York Times. These ergomaniacs encourage each other to “hustle harder”. They drink from water coolers containing floating cucumbers carved with pro-work slogans, such as “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.” “No one ever changed the world on 40 hours a week,” Elon Musk, the patron saint of the #TIGM movement announced…

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BP and BHP offered Cambridge University millions despite calls to divest | Education

Cambridge University had been offered two new multimillion pound donations from global fossil fuel corporations as it considered calls made last year to divest its endowment fund from oil and gas companies. Documents seen by the Guardian show the university management was aware of a proposed £20m donation offered by BHP – subsequently withdrawn – and £2m from BP, as it considered whether to fully divest its fortune from fossil fuels. This information was not made public or divulged to…

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The Guardian view on teacher shortages: the trouble with data | Editorial | Opinion

The government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy for England contains much that is sensible and desperately needed. Key recruitment targets have been missed for six years in a row. In some subjects, and some parts of the country, shortages are acute. In physics, for example, the number of trainees last year was just 47% of the number sought. Bursaries trialled on maths graduates appear not to have solved the problem. A third of new teachers give it up within five…

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The Guardian view on working hours: when more means less | Opinion

The poet Philip Larkin, no friend of feminism, wondered why he let “the toad work / Squat on my life? … Six days of the week it soils / With its sickening poison – / Just for paying a few bills! That’s out of proportion.” Six days a week was even then rather old-fashioned: most of the industrial world had moved on to a five-day, 40-hour week by 1970, after more than a century of agitation, and there was an…

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My colleague is a nerdy know-all who rewrites all my work. What should I do? | Life and style

I am in a line of work where it is standard practice for one’s work to be read over by a colleague in order to spot any mistakes before being submitted to the client. Even though I still have my problems with this after years of it, I can see the point. However, I have one particular colleague who basically rewrites my work. He doesn’t stop at correcting actual errors, he makes stylistic changes too – so many that I’m…

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Manchester led the way with a four-day working week | Letters | Money

It’s good to see that the Wellcome Trust is considering shortening the working week for its head office staff to boost productivity and introduce a better work-life balance (Wellcome Trust considers letting workers move to four-day week, 19 January). As a former BBC journalist, I can attest to the benefits of a four-day week – even though it was introduced in secret, and all of 47 years ago! BBC Radio Manchester was still in its infancy when the station manager…

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Red Bull wants us to leave work at 4pm. I couldn’t agree more | Opinion

I’m not squeamish, except for one small thing: I cannot repeat rhyming couplets. So I can’t tell you exactly what Red Bull’s latest London Underground advert says because it uses this mawkish lyrical form. I can tell you that it was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for promising health benefits that fizzy drinks aren’t allowed to do (nope, not even Shloer). I can even describe that promise, in a roundabout way: Red Bull will make you feel so energetic…

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