Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
Four-day work weeks are all the rage, and now they have their biggest platform yet: this week, employees at 70 U.K. companies begin working only 80 percent of their normal hours. Assuming they maintain productivity, they’ll continue to receive full pay. It is the biggest four-day work week experiment on record and could set the stage for wider adoption.
The six-month trial, organized by a group of nonprofits and academic researchers, posits that when efficiency is maximized, most workers can get all their tasks done in a shorter week. Evidence supports this theory: other large-scale four-day work week experiments have found that fewer working hours don’t reduce productivity and make employees happy (who knew?). It’s a perk that some businesses may find helps them attract talent amid a tight labor market.
“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,” said one of the organizers.
A home of your own
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes efforts to reduce homelessness. The city of Houston has moved 25,000 people off the streets and into permanent housing.
It’s a stunning success for the “Housing First” model, which says people’s housing needs should be met before they’re expected to tackle their other issues. And it was no easy lift. To achieve it, Houston had to get dozens of entities — nonprofits, companies, county agencies — to work in unison over the course of a decade. All that effort has led to results few dared to hope for. Homelessness has fallen in Houston twice as fast as in the rest of the country. And average wait times for permanent housing are a fraction of what they once were. For instance, veterans experiencing homelessness once had to wait an average of 720 days for permanent housing — now they wait 32 days. Since 2011, homelessness in Houston has fallen by 63 percent.
View this post on Instagram
“The bottom line is that nearly everybody in Houston involved in homelessness got together around what works,” said former Houston mayor Annise Parker. “That’s our secret sauce.”
Into the sunset
Gas-powered cars are one step closer to extinction in the EU — the European Parliament just voted to phase them out by 2035.
The transportation sector is the biggest source of emissions in Europe. Cars alone account for 12 percent of emissions, and only 18 percent of European car sales last year were electric or hybrid. Banning gas-powered cars would go a long way toward helping the EU meet its ambitious climate goals, chiefly cutting emissions by 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But the vote doesn’t enshrine the goal in law — rather, it affirms the Parliament’s position leading into upcoming negotiations with EU countries.
“Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers” with the ban, said Parliament’s lead negotiator on the policy.