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The Four-Day Work Week: A Near Future or a Utopia? – ReadWrite



Bruce Orcutt

The idea of a four-day workweek has once again been gaining momentum as the pandemic forced companies and employees to revise their working patterns and become more flexible.

Several countries in Europe are working to make it a reality, including Spain, the UK, Finland, and Russia. Microsoft’s Japan location has even tested shutting its offices down every Friday for a month and saw a 40% increase in productivity.

The Four-Day Work Week: A Near Future or a Utopia?

While there are certainly benefits to compressed hours, there are also a few disadvantages and challenges. Implementing a four-day workweek can be difficult as it requires the right support, technology, and workplace culture.

Is a four-day workweek a realistic prospect without compromising business? Let’s try to understand what prevents this initiative from being implemented, whether it is possible at all in the foreseeable future, and what role technology will play in this process.

With technological progress, people don’t work less

With increasing operational efficiency and automation in general, people’s roles are becoming more difficult, requiring more knowledge, non-standard thinking, and new skills.

Worldwide unemployment, with the exception of periods of acute crisis, remains roughly the same.

New Tech in work

With new technologies, business processes are accelerating and employee requirements are increasing. Take the example of a customer service representative in a bank branch.

Ten years ago, operators spent at least one-quarter of their working day reprinting data from passports, photocopying driving licenses and other documents needed to open an account, approving a loan, verifying a new corporate client based on their Federal Income Tax, and so on.

Today, almost all of these tech operations are automated at work.

Does this mean that employees are sitting and twiddling their thumbs on an office chair? No, of course not. Just through intelligent solutions, they manage to serve more people and simultaneously do something else: analyze data, respond to customer requests, and offer them new banking products. There’s still a lot to do Monday through Friday.

Just a couple of years ago, remote work was seen as a response to the public’s request for more free time.

Indeed, with the development of corporate mobility technologies, we are no longer tied to the office. We can work anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, constantly check mail, and respond to requests from partners and colleagues.

The pandemic has shattered the myth that we will work less when working remotely.

First of all, it turned out that not all companies were ready to switch to this format.

According to an ABBYY survey conducted at the end of 2020, 64% of companies had to adopt new technologies and processes, while 74% of employees said they faced challenges with switching to remote working.

Most of them found it difficult to set up a home office regarding technology and restructuring business methods. When identifying the cause of their biggest challenges, 40% of workers blamed a lack of information or solutions for completing tasks, while 32% blamed not having the right IT tools.

The global economy is holding on for two weekends

Businesses, as well as the model of consumption of goods and services, tend to adjust to the way of life of the people.

The U.S. officially adopted the five-day workweek in 1932, in a bid to counter the unemployment caused by the Great Depression. But Henry Ford, the legendary carmaker, made Saturday and Sunday days off for his staff as early as 1926 and he was also keen to establish a 40-hour working week.

An altruistic move in part also gave his workers the opportunity to spend their downtime buying consumer products and keeping cash circulating through the economy.

Entire industries have grown around free time.

It is safe to say that theatres, video games, the fashion industry, beauty and health, and restaurants and bars would not have received such development without two days off.

The share of services in the structure of the world economy is growing steadily. According to the latest data from The Global Economy, it is already approaching 60% of GDP. Experts predict that it will continue to increase.

Financial loss with a four, working day week

With that said, it could be difficult to move to four working days without significant financial losses and impact on productivity.

If you look at the current five-day program, the peak of employee efficiency tends to fall on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Most Mondays are when you’re ‘getting into working mode,’ and on Friday, work activity goes down.

On the other side, a four-day week could give employees plenty of time to rest and recover and return to work feeling ready to take on new challenges.

Perhaps this could even relieve the dreaded ‘Sunday Scaries’ feeling. For example, from 2015 to 2017, Sweden conducted a trial study into a shorter workweek. “Nurses at a care home worked only six hours for five days a week. Results were largely positive with nurses logging fewer sick hours, reporting better health and mental wellbeing, and greater engagement as they arranged 85% more activities for patients in their care.”

The “nurse study”  shows that another day off could be feasible if approached correctly.

Just like when we have to adapt over a certain amount of time when changing to a new schedule, businesses should consider a gradual approach for employees. This could be accomplished by introducing programs and systems at the beginning of the day, sharing reminders of new and incomplete tasks, and encouraging open conversations to make the new schedule function well.

Work less but more efficiently

The battle for efficiency has been ongoing since the 20th century. Productivity growth is the only factor that can really help reduce the working week for the foreseeable future.

No company will entertain giving an extra day off unless they’re sure the job will still get done, whether it’s by an employee or a digital doppelganger. If we want to have more free time, we’ll be expected to, at least, do the same amount of work in less time.

Tech’s role — AI and business process at work

Technology has helped give away routine tasks to machines such as entering data from documents, comparing their versions, searching for information in corporate systems, and more.

The very optimization of business processes can be managed through automation. Now, systems with AI elements can automatically calculate employee performance standards.

In addition, these solutions allow you to identify repetitive tasks in the overall workflow that can be transferred to robots.

While robots don’t do all the work for employees, they can help them free up more time and avoid boring, monotonous work. In the future, AI is expected to make even more global advances. Analysts predict that by 2022 AI will create 133 million new jobs, and by 2030, it will increase the world GDP by $15 trillion.

Although AI gives a competitive advantage to businesses, there are no revolutionary changes yet. In general, the level of productivity in different countries is not the same. For example, the most productive countries globally are in Scandinavia – Luxemburg, Norway, and Switzerland, with the U.S. listed at seventh place, followed by Ireland and Australia.

Productivity at work is not always associated with technology

Productivity is not always associated with technology. For example, it’s not customary in Germany to talk about personal matters or non-working issues, except for during lunch breaks. On a large scale, this is a significant time-saver.

Motivation and non-conformity to business procedures also play a role. However, the processes themselves can often be blamed for this. We still spend a lot of time on unnecessary stages, slow collaboration, searching for information inside the company and beyond, and duplication of tasks.

IDC estimates that up to 20% of companies’ profits are a problem each year. In this regard, the concept of digital intelligence is gradually gaining popularity across larger, well-known companies. A company that wants to improve its digital intelligence and get a sharp jump in productivity needs to fully understand the deepest aspects of its processes.

What about mining?

According to research, in the next two years, the demand for process mining solutions will grow 8-fold to $1.4bn by 2023. This is because these technologies allow you to better understand what is happening in your company at all stages and levels of processes.

Digital analysis of everything you do at work in your company

It’s a digital analysis of everything that happens in the company. Accounts, credit agreements, tax forms, payrolls, and delivery reports are all fragments of the processes on which the business is built.

Companies that have the tools to analyze and use this data correctly gain an undeniable competitive advantage. They can map processes and see where technological innovation is most appropriate and where automation will, or will not, bring significant savings in time and money.


I’m confident that using machine learning and predictive analytics will one day help change company formats and allow employees to do a week’s worth of work in less than 40 hours. Until then, I guess I better keep that golf slot for Saturday.

Image Credit: evan wise; unsplash; thank you!

Bruce Orcutt

Bruce Orcutt is VP of Product Marketing at ABBYY, a Digital Intelligence company. He helps organizations to gain complete understanding of their business and raise their Digital IQ.


Application Dependencies: Are They Holding Back Software Innovation?



Application Dependencies

In software development, a dependency is a piece of software that another piece of software relies on in order to function. An application’s dependencies are the external components that the application needs in order to work. These can include libraries, frameworks, and other software packages that the application uses.

For example, if an application is written in Python and uses the Django web framework, then Django would be a dependency of the application. In order to run the application, the Django library would need to be installed on the system.

Managing Dependencies in Software Development

Managing dependencies is an important part of software development, as it helps to ensure that an application has all the necessary components it needs to run correctly. This can be especially important when deploying an application to a new environment, as all of the dependencies will need to be installed and configured correctly in order for the application to work.

While dependencies make it possible to develop applications faster and add advanced functionality quickly without having to build them from scratch, they also introduce serious risks that can bring software development projects to a halt. I’ll describe what types of dependencies commonly exist in software projects and how they impact software innovation.

Application Dependencies — Are they holding up software innovation? Image Credit: Vecteezy; Thank you!

Types of Software Dependencies


Functional dependencies are components or resources that are necessary for an application to function. They result from the tasks that enable businesses to achieve their desired outcomes. It is important to identify and map these dependencies to detect and address issues, removing redundant dependencies.

Sometimes, you might need an unavailable dependency, such as one still in development. Mocking is a technique used in software development to create simulated versions of components or dependencies for testing purposes. Mocking allows developers to test the behavior of a piece of code in isolation by replacing its dependencies with mock objects that mimic the behavior of the real dependencies.


Developmental dependencies, on the other hand, are dependencies that are only needed during the development and testing phase of a software application. These dependencies might include tools for testing, debugging, or building the application and are not necessary for the application to run in production.

For example, an application may depend on a testing framework such as JUnit or PyTest during development in order to run automated tests. Still, the testing framework would not be required when the application is deployed.

Similarly, an application may depend on a build tool such as Gradle or Maven during development in order to compile and package the code, but the build tool would not be needed when the application is running.

Non-Functional and Operational

Non-functional dependencies are dependencies that relate to the overall behavior and performance of a software application rather than its specific functionalities. Examples of non-functional dependencies might include dependencies on particular hardware or software configurations or dependencies on system-level services such as networking or security.

Operational requirements can be hidden in functional requirements, so they only become apparent later in the project. To resolve an issue with such dependencies, it is important to establish policies, identify the root cause of the issue, and determine the appropriate resolution.

Dangers and Risks of Application Dependencies

There are several risks associated with application dependencies, and the danger increases with greater reliance on external software components:

  • Security vulnerabilities: Dependencies can contain bugs or flaws that can be exploited by attackers. It is important to keep dependencies up-to-date and to regularly check for and install any available security patches.
  • Compatibility issues: Dependencies are not always compatible with the version of the software they are being used with, or they might rely on other dependencies that are not present.
  • License issues: Dependencies may be subject to different licenses, and using them in an application may create legal issues if the terms of the license are not followed. It is important to carefully review the licenses of any dependencies before using them in an application.
  • Maintenance and updates: These are essential in order to stay current and secure. If a dependency is no longer maintained or supported, it can become a liability for the application that relies on it.
  • Complexity: An application with a large number of dependencies can be more complex to maintain and deploy, as all of the dependencies will need to be managed and kept up-to-date. This can result in something called dependency hell.

How Application Dependencies Impact Software Projects

Application dependencies are an important aspect of software development that can significantly impact the success of a software project. Understanding and managing these dependencies is crucial for building and maintaining high-quality software systems that are resilient, scalable, and easy to maintain:

Application dependencies can make the software more complex to build and maintain.

For example, if a software system has many dependencies on external libraries or frameworks, it may require more coordination between different teams and systems to ensure that these dependencies are properly managed. This can increase the time and effort required to deliver the project, and it can make it more difficult to make changes to the system in the future.

Application dependencies can affect software stability and reliability

If a change is made to a dependent component of the system, it can have unintended consequences on other parts of the system that rely on that component. This can make it more difficult to ensure that new features or changes are safe and reliable, and it can increase the risk of regressions or other issues.

Application dependencies can impact the scalability and performance of a software system

If dependencies are not properly managed or optimized, they can become bottlenecks or points of failure that limit the ability of the system to handle high levels of traffic or workload. This can impact the usability and reliability of the system, and it can reduce the value that it delivers to stakeholders.

Therefore, it is important for software teams to carefully understand and manage application dependencies in order to ensure that their projects are successful. This may require using tools and practices such as dependency mapping, automated testing, and continuous monitoring to track and manage dependencies effectively.


In conclusion, application dependencies can have a significant impact on software development projects. While dependencies can provide valuable functionality and save developers time and effort, they can also increase the complexity of a project, introduce security vulnerabilities, impact performance, and cause conflicts.

It’s important for developers to carefully consider the dependencies that their applications rely on and to try to minimize the number of dependencies as much as possible in order to keep the project simple and maintainable.

By keeping your project simple and maintainable — developers can help ensure that their applications are able to take advantage of the latest innovations and technologies and are able to adapt and evolve over time.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!

Gilad Maayan

Technology writer

I’m a technology writer with 20 years of experience working with leading technology brands including SAP, Imperva, CheckPoint, and NetApp. I am a three-time winner of the International Technical Communication Award. Today I lead Agile SEO, the leading marketing and content agency in the technology industry.

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Leveraging Social Media To Grow Your Career In 2023




Employees are ready to change their jobs, with nearly half of American workers planning to look for a new job in the coming six months. According to a new Robert Half report, which surveyed 2,500 professionals, around 46% of them said they plan on making a career or job change in the first half of the year.

Job-hopping has become a workplace trend among young working professionals in the post-pandemic labor market. A recent Gallup study found that 60% of surveyed millennials – ages 27 to 40 years – are more likely to look for different opportunities this year. The percentage of non-millennials workers looking to switch jobs is roughly 15% lower.

A majority of Generation Z candidates have also claimed that they are likely to make a job change this year. In a 2022 Lever Great Resignation report, around 65% of Gen Z professionals said that they are likely to leave their job by the end of the year. Moreover, 13% of them are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the next month.

Job-hopping has become almost synonymous in the post-COVID workforce, and younger professionals are fueling this trend by leaving unfulfilling roles and moving on to greener pastures.

Yet, with so many professionals changing jobs, or looking to switch careers, even against the backdrop of a looming recession, many of them have geared themselves towards social media as a way to build a professional brand and market themselves to potential employers.

Using Social Media For Career Growth

Keeping your social media professional can be a hard ball to juggle. In a 2020 Harris Poll survey, around 70% of employers said that every company should screen candidates’ social media throughout the hiring process. Additionally, the majority of employers – 78% – believe that all their current employees should adhere to a work–appropriate social media profile.

Employees should care about what they share and post on social media. Although the debate over whether social media screening during the hiring process is ethical is still ongoing, candidates willing to leverage social media to develop or boost their careers will need to set up a social media strategy that can help them land the job they want.

Much of our digital identity is pinned to our social media accounts, and a lot of what we share, like and the people we interact with via these channels can speak a great deal of the types of person we are outside of the workplace.

Aside from employees using these platforms to grow their network, or search for possible job opportunities, employers and recruiters are using it to look for any possible red or green flags that you might bring to the workplace.

Social media has moved beyond its traditional form, and today it’s become a digital ecosystem that helps to connect like-minded professionals and their potential employers.

How To Use Social Media To Boost Career Opportunities

Searching for a job is more than browsing through recruitment websites and job listings on LinkedIn or Google. The internet, and social media is a vast place, with near-endless possibilities, and when it comes to growing your career through social media, you will need to know a few things first.

Have A Social Strategy

It might sound strange at first, but having a social media strategy will help you come in contact with the right people faster. Your social media strategy should include building an online identity that reflects your professional and personal side.

You can use different platforms for different connections or networks, it’s all about how you present yourself through your brand. Think of the type of content you share regularly, does it reflect who you are as a professional? How often do you post, or reply to comments and messages? Are there any areas where you can improve or update the information to help you grow your network of contacts?

Write some questions down to get you started, and start working on building an online identity that can get noticed by like-minded individuals in the same industry.

Network With Industry Professionals

Nowadays it’s easier than ever before to reach out to a company or recruiter through their social media, and the same goes for connecting with professionals working in the same industry.

Instead of using social media to only share insightful content, or engage with your friends, try to grow your professional network. On top of this, it’s important to engage with these people as well, even if it’s simply exchanging a few words now and again.

Be active in your mission to get to know the people that are out there, and spend a bit of time researching their profiles to better understand the type of skills and qualifications these people may have. Networking is one of the best possible ways to move around your industry without putting in much effort.

Grow Your Skills

Looking at other people’s social media profiles, whether it’s Twitter or, or even Instagram will give a better idea of the type of skills you might need to develop to help grow and make the next big career jump.

Often professionals will share their skills, and what they’re experts in at the top of their social media accounts, this way it is easier for recruiters to know who the person is, and for like-minded professionals to engage with them.

If you compare the skills of several professionals already working in the field you’re interested in, you will get a better idea of where you might need to upskill yourself by completing some courses or doing a bit of reading.

When we say advertise, we don’t necessarily mean flashy and colorful digital adverts that you’d hope will get the attention of your potential employer.

Instead try and convey your expertise through the type of content you can share such as blog posts, news articles, industry research, or even projects you’ve worked on. Additionally, you can also share your job title and relevant experience in the bio section of your profile.

The better you are at showing people your expertise in a professional, yet unpretentious way, the faster your feed will fill up with similar content and other experienced individuals.

Update Your Profiles

This is relevant to almost every social media profile you have, regardless of what you use it for. People often neglect social media platforms they don’t use anymore, and while it can be tedious to spend so much time updating photos or replying to messages, decide on a couple of platforms you’d like to use and stick to them.

Make sure that the platforms you end up using have a recent photo, and that all other relevant personal information has been updated such as your job title, industry experience, and your current city. You don’t need to do this every week, only when needed, or when you’ve changed jobs or moved.

The better you curate your social media, the easier it will be for employers and recruiters to notice you as you actively begin to network.

Final Words

Social media can be a professional tool, despite it receiving so much negative clout in recent years. Although it’s hard to determine whether possible employers or recruiters will screen your social media accounts before or during the hiring process, it’s best to always keep a well-groomed online identity – especially if you’re looking to make progress in your career.

Make well-informed decisions, and think about the type of content you’re sharing. Remember to engage with like-minded professionals, and have conversations online through the information you share with your followers.

The better you are at curating one or two social media platforms for career purposes, the quicker you’ll be able to expand your network, and grow your professional skills. Don’t think too much about it, try and have a balance as much as possible, as this will help you to enjoy your social media experience while maintaining a professional, yet fun digital identity.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

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Have You Heard of These 6 Amazing Ways to Use AI in Construction?



How Are Smart Thermostats Making Homes Greener? - ReadWrite

Artificial intelligence might have started as the fictional villain of sci-fi stories, but it’s quickly becoming indispensable in many industries. The construction industry is one among many beginning to adopt this new technology. How can companies and contractors start employing AI in construction? How could this industry 4.0 technology change the industry in the coming years?

1. Programming an Extra Set of Eyes

Drone cameras have already become invaluable for contractors, especially for site surveying and inspections. While they can help keep inspectors and workers safe, they still require a live person behind the camera and the controls. In the future, users could train AI to see, analyze and understand the images they’re observing, reducing or eliminating the need for a human operator or drone pilot.

Human inspectors will still be necessary, but if programmers can teach an extra set of AI-powered eyes to recognize when something is incorrect or missing, it could help streamline these processes.

As a bonus, these AI eyes could potentially recognize or identify errors and safety issues human inspectors might overlook. Observational AI systems rely on pattern recognition and spend most of their time observing hundreds of thousands of images to ensure they can correctly identify their targets.

They don’t experience the problem of familiarity. It’s like editing a piece of text. The more often the author reads it, the more likely they are to overlook errors rather than fix them. AI observational systems don’t have that problem, making them more efficient for safety applications.

2. Turning Data into Actionable Insights

Construction might be one of the slowest industries to adopt new technologies. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the slow introduction of smart building. Incorporating devices into a construction project generates massive amounts of data. Without an AI or machine learning system, that information languishes in digital limbo. Skilled analysts may be able to make heads or tails of it, but putting it to use requires additional tools.

In construction, AI can sort through massive amounts of data, find patterns and deliver actionable insights that can improve productivity and worksite efficiency. It can use equipment maintenance data to create a better care schedule, preventing costly downtime due to equipment failure. With enough information, it can even predict when these maintenance cycles should occur based on past data.

3. Adopting Virtual Assistants

Alexa or Siri might seem like something users only need after their shift ends, but these virtual assistants and many others can help improve outcomes. Digital helpers designed for construction applications can manage communication, bolster inter-team coordination, schedule and track appointments, and more. Advanced assistants can access data generated by the above technology and help with budgeting and estimation.

Modern helpers may take time to customize to a company’s specific needs, but their benefits vastly outweigh the time investment. Utilizing natural language processing (NLP) can make these virtual tools even more powerful.  NLP allows users to speak to their virtual assistants as they would to the person next to them.

4. Incorporating AI Into Wearable Technologies

Like virtual assistants, wearable technology might not seem like it has much of a place in the construction industry, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Fitbits and Apple Watches might not offer much, but they are far from the only wearable devices available in the construction industry.

Monitoring an employee’s heart rate and other vital statistics can indicate when they might be in distress. Fatigue monitors can prevent on-the-job accidents by alerting supervisors when someone is operating heavy equipment while not adequately rested. Impact sensors can detect when someone experiences a fall. Connecting these wearable sensors to a centralized AI  in construction sites allows the system to monitor employees in real-time and send alerts as needed.

5. Procuring and Supply Chains

Supply chains across industries took a significant hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The price of some construction supplies skyrocketed, and the supply chains for other materials slowed to a crawl — if they were still available. Incorporating AI into procurement and supply chain systems can help improve efficiency and reduce the chance an upset like the pandemic could derail these supply chains again.

There are applications for AI and related technologies throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing and harvesting to those last-mile deliveries. Sensors can collect information about everything from location to distance traveled. They can monitor temperature and humidity for materials requiring more climate control, making it easier to protect all necessary supplies while in transit. Pairing these sensors with an AI system can make sense of data while generating actionable insights.

6. Integrating Robotics and Automation

Contrary to the story popular media tries to spin, robots aren’t appearing in workplaces intending to steal jobs. Instead, they could help improve workplace efficiency and reduce on-the-job injuries by completing mundane, repetitive, or dangerous tasks. Introducing robotics and automation can lower the potential for stress injuries since construction workers are most frequently diagnosed with this type of ailment.

When it comes to dangerous tasks, AI-powered robotics or automation are ideal. These applications can include everything from cleaning tanks or operating in low-oxygen environments to completing tasks in situations that would otherwise be unsafe for human life. While it is currently possible to use these robots manually via remote control, adding AI to the mix would free up workers for more critical or complex tasks employers can’t automate.

Looking to the Future of AI in Construction

There are so many amazing applications for AI construction that it’s easy to forget it’s still novel technology. It will take some time before the industry is ready to adopt this technology and capitalize on all its benefits. AI could make all the difference for companies looking to differentiate themselves in this competitive field.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh; Unsplash; Thank you!

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technical and industrial journalist. She regularly covers stories about how technology is changing the industrial sector.

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