The Week That Was

The fashion police will say you can only wear white pants for just one more week — when the unofficial summer season comes to an end with the Labor Day holiday.

Don’t worry, no matter the season, you can always catch up on your reading with these top five stories from for the week of Aug. 20 — and we don’t care what color pants you wear!

1. How to Boost Employee Career Satisfaction: Employees need to be happy in their work. If they don’t feel fulfilled and enjoy some sense of autonomy, absenteeism and other ills will follow, writes Barb Krantz Taylor, a licensed psychologist and master coach with The Bailey Group in Minneapolis.

2. Tips to Create a ‘Conscious’ Organization: Brain science can teach us a little something about how to optimize talent management. Columnist John Boudreau breaks it down.

3. How to Foster Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace: Don’t sweep it under the rug — use these five practical steps to create a welcoming environment for transgender individuals, writes editor Jeffrey Cattel.

4. Why Employees Leave Their Managers: Organizations that ignore intangible workforce motivators will sabotage the one thing every employee needs in today’s challenging work environment: resilience, writes Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.

5. Stay on the Path to Pay Equity: Ensuring equitable compensation means identifying measurable data to determine pay, the factors that impact that data for different populations and addressing differences in a defensible manner. David Lamoreaux, co-head of the labor and employment practice at global consulting firm Charles River Associates, and Wayne Strayer, a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice, have the story.

In Other News …

For some firms, summer means the return of “summer hours,” where employees may leave for the day at lunch time at the end of the week to enjoy the fun and sun. That is, if they’ve met all their deadlines.

But at software firm 37signals, they take the concept a step further.

From May through October, the company switches to a four-day workweek, according to this story from The New York Times, written by the firm’s chief executive, Jason Fried.

Most staff workers take Fridays off, but others choose a different day. But, no matter what day, nearly the entire staff enjoys a three-day weekend — or time off per week.

“The benefits of a six-month schedule with three-day weekends are obvious,” Fried writes. “But there’s one surprising effect of the changed schedule: better work gets done in four days than in five.”

This year, 37signals took its summer perk a step further: it gave every employee in the company the month of June to work on whatever they wanted. “It wasn’t a vacation,” Fried wrote, “but it was a vacation from whatever work was already scheduled. We invited everyone to shelve their nonessential work and to use the time to explore their own ideas.”

How about that?

Now, I know what many of you must be thinking: If they worked just four days a week during this span, then they must have had to put in more hours per day to make up for the lost work?

Well, according to Fried, they didn’t do that, either. They only worked 32 hours per week instead of 40. And Fried said productivity went up.

“When there’s less time to work, you waste less time,” he wrote. “When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time.”