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Morning Brief: The 4-Day Work Week, A Skid Row Mural, And Queen Nation

The outside of a grey, four-story WeWork office building is shown, with a white SUV parked in front.
A driver pulls into a largely empty office complex in Playa Vista. (David Wagner/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s July 20.

As Angelenos slowly begin to return to the office, many local employees and businesses are reconsidering how they’ll function. For some, perhaps a cue can be taken from Iceland, which recently reported that an experiment with a four-day work week was not just excellent for employee well-being, but in some cases increased productivity as well.

The results “demonstrate the transformative positive effects of a shorter working week for both employees and businesses alike,” wrote the authors of the study. “Productivity and service provision remained the same or improved [and] worker wellbeing increased across a range of indicators, from perceived stress and burnout, to health and work-life balance.”

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Speaking to our newsroom’s AirTalk program, Juliet Schor, economist and professor of sociology at Boston College and author of the book, The Overworked American, said that the effort to reduce the number of workdays in the U.S. has been ongoing for decades.

“I think we're finally seeing some momentum,” she said. “The pent-up demand for fewer hours of work, the generational changes in attitude and, most importantly, the impact of the pandemic have given a level of momentum to this movement that, frankly, I'm even surprised by.”

Schor went on to note that the change is, strikingly, often coming from the top down rather than as a push from employees.

“You've got a lot of employers who are seeing work-life balance stress among their employees, and they're also feeling like people are not as productive as they could be, and we could actually increase their productivity if we gave them a reason for it,” she said. “There's that trade-off with [offering] four days for five days pay, because it means that people are going to be working more intensively in those four days.”

Locally, many businesses are still focusing on getting back into the swing of things after some pandemic restrictions were lifted (...and then put back in place). But it’s a changed world, and the time for thinking outside the box is now.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • A miscalculation on the part of police could be to blame for LAPD’s botched detonation of illegal fireworks in South L.A. last month.
  • Workers at the private company contracted by L.A. Metro to manage its bike share program voted 22 to 11 in favor of joining the Transport Workers Union.
  • Residents of Acton got fed up with Southern California Edison shutting their power off as a fire prevention measure whenever the weather turned dry and windy, so the town council did some digging — and what they found surprised them.
  • Here’s what you need to know about the effort to recall and replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • Newsom signed a historic $12 billion funding package to address the homelessness crisis in the state over the next two years.
  • A nursing home operator’s appeal of the state's decision to deny her nine additional licenses was slated to begin yesterday, but the hearing was removed from the schedule without public notice or explanation late last week.
  • A new 66-foot mural, "The Heart of Skid Row,” was unveiled outside the Los Angeles Mission in downtown Los Angeles.

Before You Go ... This Week's Outdoor Pick: Queen Nation

Freddie Mercury (Photo by Hulton Archives/Getty)

OC Parks continues its summer concert series with live music by Queen Nation, a Queen cover band, at Irvine Regional Park. The event offers free parking, with food and drinks for sale. If you want to break free from the constraints of being indoors all day, find yourself somebody to love and come check out the show.

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Or, you could: Check out the Andy Warhol: Photo Factory exhibition. Stroll through a weed-themed pop-up. Hear from a co-creator of the Black Lives Matter movement. And more.

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