The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Workweek
Henry Ford’s five-day work week was seen in 1926 as a revolution when it gave his employees Saturdays off. How gracious of him, right? And a short time later, in 1932, the five-day week was officially codified for all workers in the United States. But, after a century of Ford’s “radical” idea — is the next workplace innovation the four-day workweek?
However, companies of all sizes have been tinkering with four-day work weeks worldwide. Down in New Zealand, consumer-goods corporation Unilever implemented a 12-month test run of a shorter work week. The four-day working week became a reality in Spain in March of 2021 after several dozen companies participated in a pilot project. Fundraising company Kickstarter will test the four-day work week with employees in 2022. Also, in 2022, home improvement retailer Lowe’s adopted a four-day workweek.
But that’s not all. Scotland, Iceland, Japan, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates all have four-day workweek pilot programs in the works. Additionally, Democratic Congressman Mark Takano introduced legislation reducing the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours here in the United States.
The world’s most extensive 4-day workweek trial run occurred in the U.K. in 2022.
All eyes are on the U.K.
To determine whether a similar model is possible and supported in the United States, over 3,300 workers and 70 British companies participated in the trial in the U.K.
According to Eagle Hill Consulting, 83% of respondents agreed that a four-day workweek would reduce burnout. In a Joblist survey, 94% of job seekers said they wanted a four-day workweek. But did the study back these claims up? Here’s what the study showed:
- According to 51% of employees, they can do their jobs to their fullest potential in 40 hours or less
- In 85% of the survey responses, respondents said it was logistically possible to work four days a week
- A 4-day workweek was cited as a benefit by 94% of respondents
- Approximately 28% of full-time employees would consider a four-day week in exchange for a pay cut
So far, so good. But is a four-day workweek really a good idea? Well, let’s weigh the pros and cons.
What is a Four-Day Workweek?
Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s have a brief rundown on what exactly a four-day workweek is.
You could work 32 hours with a four-day workweek without losing productivity, pay, or benefits. There might be a Monday-through-Thursday work week with Fridays off — depending on the industry and the company. Alternatively, each employee could choose their third day off, or the company could have a third different day off policy on Mondays or Wednesdays.
Both options have their pros and cons. When everyone works at the same time, collaborative work is enhanced. But the company will be unstaffed when most others are. Individual employees may prefer a flexible third day off, but teams may struggle with it.
It may seem unorthodox to work a four-day week. Over the last century, however, we have gradually reduced the number of hours worked per week.
In 1890, a full-time employee within a manufacturing plant worked an average of 100 hours per week, according to the United States government. But, by the mid-20th century, manufacturing employees were on average working 40 hours a week. So, as radical as it may seem, reducing our current work week to 28 hours is not as drastic as it may seem.
The Pros of a Four-Day Workweek
In a report in The Atlantic, people who work a four-day week say they’re healthier, happier, and less stressed. As a result, their employers report that their employees are more productive and focused. In addition, 94% of employees have a positive sense of well-being when they feel their employer cares about them. Also, according to research, it is best not to work intensively for more than four hours per day.
Some of the most significant advantages of a four-day work week are as follows.
The relationship between productivity and hours worked was studied by Sanford University. It was found that those who work an overworked schedule are actually less productive than those with a regular work schedule.
During a trial study conducted by a New Zealand company, Perpetual Guardian, four-day work weeks were tested. In addition to maintaining their productivity levels, employees improved their job satisfaction, teamwork, work/life balance, and loyalty to the company. There was also a decrease in stress from 45% to 38% of employees.
Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, along with some of the world’s most productive countries, work on average 27 hours a week, the same hours suggested for a four-day work week in the U.K. In contrast, Japan, a country notorious for overworked employees, ranks 20th out of 35 countries in terms of productivity. In fact, Japan’s four-day workweek experiment led to a 40% increase in productivity.
Physical and mental well-being is improved.
Several positive side effects are reported by employees who work fewer days per week. Whether it’s exercising more, finishing a Master’s program earlier, volunteering more, or maintaining a healthy work-life balance, these measures can help. In turn, this contributes to a worker’s increased productivity. “I like to take walks … just wander and let my brain breathe,” Natalie Nagele, Wildbit CEO, told The Atlantic.
A more balanced life leads to less stress for parents with children. In addition, they spend more time with their families. In addition, caregivers of aging parents have the opportunity to help them. “One of the biggest factors in people’s level of work-family satisfaction is the pure number of work hours they have,” Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who studies time use, told The Atlantic. “So cutting it is huge … It would re-balance things for working families.”
“I can enjoy my weekend now because I’ve got my Friday for my chores and my other bits and pieces or… if I want to take my mum out for a walk, I can do that now without feeling guilty, Lisa Gilbert, a lending services manager at Charity Bank, told CNN Business.
In addition to caring for her son and two elderly parents, Gilbert gets an extra day off a week, which allows her to spend more time with them.
“I find that I’m saying ‘yes we can as opposed to ‘no, sorry we can’t,’” she said.
A compressed or reduced 4-day workweek can motivate your employees. As with any other benefit, it’s perceived as a way for the company to support its employees both on and off the clock.
Moreover, the rarity of these programs may encourage your staff to work hard to earn them or keep them.
It has improved employee engagement.
Employees are more likely to be satisfied and committed if they have four days off each week. They have enough time to rest and recover, which allows them to return to work feeling ready to take on new responsibilities.
A study conducted by Sweden in 2015-2017 investigated the effects of shorter work weeks on nurses. Nurses were working solely six hours a day and five days a week. Results showed nurses logged fewer sick days, reported better health, and engaged patients 85% more.
Over half, 51%, of business leaders surveyed by Henley Business School reported savings on facilities and utilities, and almost two-thirds reported increased productivity.
Downtime is reduced.
Employees have that extra day off during traditional business hours to schedule personal needs. As a result, they can make doctor’s and other appointments on their regular day off without taking time away from work. According to the same study, 62% of business leaders report that fewer sick days are taken.
We have increased employee attraction and retention.
It has been reported that job postings listing four-day workweeks have tripled within the last five years. Post-pandemic challenges may make this trend continue. As the competition for talent surges, top job seekers are looking for the best potential opportunities.
Furthermore, focusing on wellness and avoiding burnout is key to retaining employees. In a 2020 Gallup poll of over 10,000 workers, workers who worked a 4-day week reported the lowest level of job burnout. Among employees with a four-day work week, 63% reported thriving wellbeing.
A smaller carbon footprint.
In countries with shorter working hours, the carbon footprint is typically smaller. Consequently, reducing our work week from 5 to 4 days could also have environmental benefits. In addition, the shorter working week eases employee commutes and means large office buildings spend less time unused.
Utah’s state government employees showed a significant environmental impact from reducing work week length from five to four days through a compressed work schedule during a trial conducted in the state. Over $1.8 million was saved in energy costs due to closing the large office building on Fridays. In addition, the state estimates it could save 12,000 metric tons of CO2 by working one day less a week, equivalent to removing 2,300 cars from the road for one year.
The Cons of a Four-Day Workweek
It is true that a four-day work week has many benefits. But there are also a few disadvantages that shouldn’t be ignored. For example, the study involving Swedish nurses found that the project wasn’t cost-effective in the long run.
There is a cost.
Some argue that recruiting employees would be expensive with a four-day work week. In the U.S., as in other countries, employers offer full-time employees more than just their annual salary. They also throw in benefits like pensions and health insurance. As a result, employers may not be able to hire more employees to cover the reduced number of working hours.
Additionally, many workers in many countries prefer working fewer days a week – or fewer hours – in return for a higher salary. YouGov and HuffPost surveyed approximately 50% of American workers in 2014 and found that they would work an additional day a week for 20% more pay. Part-time workers were even more likely to make the trade.
It decreased customer satisfaction.
Despite providing some great environmental results and employer and employee benefits, the Utah study closed due to unsatisfactory customer feedback. Due to government offices being closed on Fridays, customers complained they couldn’t access government services.
However, companies can improve customer satisfaction by using technology, such as chatbots and AI-powered websites. How? By allowing customers another avenue for support instead of relying solely on employees.
Not everyone can participate.
A four-day work week is challenging to implement for some industries that require 24/7 availability. A four-day work week, for example, may make it difficult for your business to manage customer service problems.
Companies must deal with problems during the weekday and weekends regardless of the industry. However, planning and forethought are required to cover every aspect of the business during the workday.
Compressing the workweek may be complicated by the need for your team to assist customers or other team members. Furthermore, this can make finding appropriate coverage during working hours a chore.
Additionally, internal scheduling may cause problems in managing client needs. For example, scheduled meetings can be planned in advance in the workweek. On the other hand, impromptu or emergency meetings might be more problematic.
Also, when employees who are off cannot attend brainstorming sessions, there may be limited input. How often these events occur in an organization may determine whether a 4-day workweek is feasible.
Workers may still put in the same amount of time.
In some cases, reducing hours may not be feasible for specific jobs. For example, one experiment in France found that workers put in the same number of hours regardless of the four-day work week. So what’s the only difference? Overtime costs were added to the company’s expenses.
There’s nothing better than a 3-day weekend, is there? Businesses usually structure their 4-day week this way (Mondays and Fridays off). To maintain that benefit, you will have to work harder during your ‘on’ days to ensure you don’t lose your ‘off’ days.
Most employees surveyed said a four-day week helped them maintain a work/life balance. So having a flexible schedule is a plus. But if the work portion adds more stress, it might not be worth it.
Should You Adopt a Four-Day Workweek?
There are many advantages to condensing workweeks, such as increased productivity and more time to pursue personal interests. But, at the same time, some industries, businesses, or individuals don’t work well with a four-day schedule. In addition, it won’t magically fix toxic workplaces or unpleasant jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a reevaluation of work worldwide, which has increased interest in four-day workweeks. As a result, we must adjust our mindset and culture to make it the new normal, deemphasize work, and examine work activities that can be automated, deprioritized, and eliminated.
However, if you want to give a four-day workweek a try, consider the following strategies:
- Clearly define your goals
- Make sure your goals are achievable within a shorter work week
- Tasks should be prioritized and reevaluated
- Work asynchronously
- Keep interruptions and distractions to a minimum
- Don’t measure hours, measure outcomes
- Automate more tasks
- Create a culture that emphasizes human creativity
- Work-based social events should be limited
- Meetings should be reduced and shortened
- Pay employees as usual
- Regularly solicit feedback from employees
- Don’t micromanage your team
- Experiment and learn from your mistakes
Published First on Calendar. Read Here.
Featured Image: Photo by Tim Douglas; Pexels; Thank you!
The Impact of Traveling on Business
Technology has long evolved in every aspect of life, whether at work, school, or home. Its advancement has impacted many industries, such as finance, healthcare, security, and others just to mention a few.
In due time, technology also evolved in the travel industry. Thereby providing easy means through which flights, hotel rooms, tours, and other traveling activities can be booked; even trip plans can be done through a mobile device. So tell me why you would not like to travel with all the ease that comes with traveling.
Traveling is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for every individual that partakes in it. Likewise, for entrepreneurs, traveling plays an even greater role in impacting their business.
What travel will do for you:
- Builds good communication skills
- Improves one’s ability to collaborate and negotiate
- Cultural awareness
- Promotes good decision-making
- Improves your time management skills, and so on
Nevertheless, it is important to note that entrepreneurship involves a lot of responsibilities. There are a lot of activities that come with running a business, but still, it is significant to make time to travel around the world.
Why should business leaders make time to travel the world?
It is essential to know that being in a static position as a business leader in terms of knowledge, expertise, and social network will not improve the growth of your business. That is why you have to include traveling in your business agenda, which would assist you in meeting and interacting with other social networks in the view of bringing in new ideas.
Let’s check out 5 lessons business leaders will learn from traveling:
Using body language in aiding sales
A first impression is formed within a few seconds and is heavily influenced by your body language.
In all business interactions, first impressions are crucial. Once someone labels you as trustworthy, suspicious, powerful or submissive, everything else you do is viewed through this lens.
When you are liked, you will be seen for what you are, and when you are disliked, all you do will be suspected. Studies have shown that nonverbal cues (body language) are four times more influential than verbal cues. When traveling to a new country for business or pleasure, research their culture to understand how your gestures will be perceived. If you put in the effort to understand people, you will most likely connect with them.
Then you should be able to relate it to your business and how you can improve customer service.
Developing valuable relationships
Do you know that traveling fosters unique relationships?
Whether you travel on a business trip or personal vacation, you get to meet some amazing people who might become your best friends, your coffee date partners, long-lasting clients, and trusted chefs.
Traveling teaches you how to embrace valuable relationships in your life and business exactly as they are, however flawed or different from your expectations they may be. You learn that every friendship or acquaintance you have adds something special to both your life and business, so you don’t waste time trying to change or control it.
When you travel, you will interact with more people and gain insight into the city, culture, and people, but more importantly, you will learn what their personal “pains” are and how you can relieve them through your business.
Creating a business is all about dealing with ambiguity, you’re signing up for a truckload of unpredictable and mysterious events.
- Will this business work?
- Is this year going to be a profitable year?
- Is this investor trustworthy?
- What do you think about the ambiguity?
- Are you afraid of it, or are you embracing it?
While traveling, you can gain good experiences with how you handle challenges. This is because of the unexpected and unpredictable events that occur while travelling; how you react to those challenges, just as when faced with unprecedented situations in your business, determines your success.
Taking calls or responding to emails when you should be sleeping doesn’t make you a better entrepreneur. Likewise, how devoting every minute to your business can prevent you from reaching your full potential.
The effects of workplace burnout are real, and they can hurt your success. Stress and sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your life and business’s success.
Thus, taking a few days off will help you avoid burnout. Look for a place where you can relax and open your mind to new ideas. Vacations offer your mind the break it needs. Otherwise, you risk making bad business decisions.
Also, traveling will help take you back on your feet and will give you time for reflection. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time and reflecting on what you’re doing in both your professional and personal lives.
Re-evaluate your Business
Your opinions and beliefs about your business and life, in general, are re-evaluated when you travel. It is easier to connect with others if you have a more flexible mind than if you hold rigid notions about the world.
Taking trips gives you a better understanding of what people around the world are interested in. Explore how your business model can benefit from interacting with different cultures.
It’s important to never stop looking for new solutions in your business, and you should always be curious about what’s going on. Your employee benefits program might need improvement, or your marketing may be outdated. You’ll always learn lessons on the road, but you never know what they will be.
Meanwhile, traveling also has a few negative impacts on businesses. Just as the saying goes, there’s nothing that has an advantage that doesn’t have a disadvantage.
This is an educational article that would delve into the two-part impact of traveling so that business leaders become cognizant of the impacts travel has on them and their employees, also placing both impacts on priority.
Here are 3 drawbacks that traveling has for business
There’s no doubt that traveling can be quite expensive even when some bills are covered by the business or company, talking about plane tickets, taxis, and hotel bookings.
Rather, traveling in relation to business should not be perceived in the context of cost alone, but the aspect of revenue income, operations, and human impact should be considered.
Lots of businesses do not anticipate nor plan ahead for risks that could happen while traveling, this they end up lacking proper management of those risks when they occur.
There are different threats that travelers could face while traveling. These risks include contracting dangerous diseases, breaching cybersecurity codes, flight crash cases, and being detained.
Well-being and Health Risk
It has been observed that the majority of people that travel on business trips or vacations rarely follow their normal routine and thus have to go through a totally new routine.
Let it be known that this could pose a threat to employees’ health and well-being due to the fact that they are trying to make the most of the travel period.
All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that traveling and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. They both start from a point and grow to a level of professionalism.
You shouldn’t deny the fact that traveling is a research process that helps to bring fresh ideas to your business on the journey of professionalism.
In other words, as a business owner, there are certain things that you need to put in place if you want the right impact of traveling in your business.
Most importantly, you should stop trying to minimize the cost of travel due to the effect it has on the business and employees — rather remember the increase the return on investment(ROI) of business travel will be for your company or business.
Featured Image Credit:
10 Ways to Use Instagram Stories Highlights for Healthcare Marketing in 2023
It’s no secret that Instagram has become a popular social media platform for businesses across all industries. Instagram stories, in particular, offer businesses an opportunity to engage in creative and interactive storytelling to promote their services, products, and values.
Many companies have already used Instagram Stories Highlights for Healthcare Marketing. This feature expands their reach and makes their presence more visible on the platform.
What are Instagram Stories and Instagram Stories Highlights?
In the last few years, Instagram has added several new features, further enhancing the platform’s capabilities for companies. One of the most popular features on Instagram is Stories, which allows users to share short-lived posts that disappear after 24 hours. Instagram Stories Highlights are a way to preserve Stories and make them easily accessible to followers.
For healthcare companies, Instagram Stories Highlights can be an incredibly effective way to interact with their target audience, showcase their services and products, and share valuable health-related content.
Ways healthcare companies can use Instagram Stories Highlights to improve their marketing
With that in mind, this article will explore ten ways healthcare companies can use Instagram Stories Highlights to improve their marketing strategies in 2023.
Highlight Patient Testimonials
Patient testimonials provide a great opportunity to show potential patients the positive effects that your services and treatments can have. They can share their experiences and the results of their treatments, providing potential patients with a firsthand account of their success stories.
Additionally, patient testimonials allow you to showcase the types of treatments you specialize in and the positive effects that they have had on various patients. Using patient testimonials increases your credibility and trustworthiness and better understand your target audience.
While patient testimonials are a great way to showcase your healthcare services and products, it is important to ensure that the testimonials you use are genuine and from actual patients of your practice. Ensuring that your patient testimonials are genuine and not fabricated is important.
One way to ensure authenticity is to gather patient testimonials through a review system, such as Google Reviews or Facebook Recommendations. You can also ask patients for permission to share their experiences on your Instagram account.
Promote Health Awareness Campaigns
Creating Instagram Stories focusing on health topics like nutrition, physical activity, and mental health is important for any healthcare provider. These stories can feature helpful tips, educational information, and inspiring stories related to the topic.
Moreover, you can use Instagram Stories Highlights to promote healthy practices and activities. You can also use them as a platform to provide resources to your followers, such as links to articles, videos, or online support groups. By adding stories to your Instagram highlights, you can make a lasting impression on your followers and help to create a community of health-minded individuals.
You can create a highlight dedicated to health awareness campaigns and share information and resources about specific diseases or conditions. For example, you could highlight heart health, share tips for maintaining a healthy heart, and provide information about heart disease and how to reduce your risk. You can also use Instagram’s built-in poll feature to engage your followers by asking questions related to the health topic you’re promoting.
Share Expert Opinions and Insights
Sharing expert opinions and insights on Instagram can help establish your practice as a reputed and trustworthy source of information. Sharing advice from healthcare professionals can help educate potential customers on various topics related to your products or services.
You can create highlights dedicated to expert opinions and insights and share short clips or written posts that provide valuable information on health topics. Instagram Stories can also provide educational content that followers can share, potentially leading to more engagement with your products and services.
Examples include information on new medical advancements, tips for living a healthy life, and insights on specific health conditions. When sharing expert opinions and insights, it’s important to be clear and concise and provide sources for the information you share. It can help build trust with your followers and demonstrate your commitment to providing accurate and reliable information.
In addition, utilizing influencers to share stories and advice can help elevate your company’s brand in the healthcare space.
Highlight Health Services and Products
Social media has become essential for healthcare providers to market their health services and products. With Instagram Story Highlights, you can curate stories about your services and products and highlight them in your profile. This feature allows you to create a user-friendly experience by showcasing the best of their content.
You can highlight the benefits of a product, share a patient’s success story, or explain how a procedure works. Highlighting these stories creates an inviting experience for potential patients and allows them to learn more about your offers.
For example, if you offer a weight loss program, you could create a Highlight dedicated to this service and share testimonials from satisfied patients. You can include information about how the program works and what patients can expect. You can also use Instagram’s built-in call-to-action feature to encourage followers to take action and book a consultation or purchase your products.
Offer Behind-the-Scenes Look
Instagram Stories that offer a behind-the-scenes look make the experience even more personal and engaging. It could include taking viewers on a tour of the facility, interviews with staff, and sneak previews of upcoming services or technologies.
By offering a behind-the-scenes look, you can help potential patients get to know your practice and the people who work there, which can help build trust and increase the likelihood that they will choose your practice over a competitor.
For example, you can share short clips of staff members introducing themselves, images of your office and treatment rooms, and behind-the-scenes footage of procedures or treatments. You can also use Instagram’s built-in story questions feature to engage with your followers and encourage them to ask questions about your practice and what they can expect when they visit.
With a behind-the-scenes look, you can share stories that give a more in-depth narrative, increasing loyalty and trust among followers. It allows followers to glimpse your company and helps foster a connection extending beyond the surface level.
Share Healthy Lifestyle Tips
As a healthcare provider, you have a wealth of information and resources that can help educate your followers on important health topics. Instagram Stories Highlights can be great for sharing healthy lifestyle tips with your followers and demonstrating your expertise in your field.
Examples of educational topics you can share include information on specific health conditions, tips for living a healthy lifestyle, and resources for managing stress and anxiety. It could also include meal-planning ideas, exercise tips, reminders to stay hydrated, mental health advice, and more.
You could also use the highlights to share success stories from patients who have adopted healthy lifestyles and achieved results. Such stories could be very inspiring and motivating to other viewers.
You could also share resources such as websites, books, or apps promoting healthy living. It can be done using Instagram Stories Highlights, helping build long-term relationships with patients and the broader community.
Announce Upcoming Events and Workshops
Instagram Stories Highlights can be used to share important information about the event, such as the time, location, and any dress code requirements. It can build excitement and anticipation among your followers. These events and workshops can also be a great opportunity to collaborate with other healthcare providers and organizations in your community.
You can generate interest and encourage attendees to sign up by providing regular updates and sneak peeks. Additionally, images and videos highlighting the event or workshop can be shared to engage viewers. Images of speakers or past event attendees can create a sense of familiarity for the viewer.
Furthermore, the event’s unique details or benefits can be highlighted to encourage viewers to attend. By creating Instagram Stories Highlights, you can reach a wider audience and increase engagement with potential customers.
Promote Special Offers and Promotions
Instagram is a great platform to promote special offers and promotions related to your healthcare services and products. You can create a highlight dedicated to promoting special offers and promotions and share short clips or images that showcase your offer.
Encouraging followers to use your services and products by showcasing limited-time deals and discounts can help increase conversions and drive revenue for your healthcare business. For example, if you’re offering a special discount on a new product, you could create a highlight for this promotion and share information about the product and the discount.
By creating dedicated highlights for promotions, you can ensure that your followers can always access your latest deals and discounts. You can also use eye-catching graphics, videos, and animations to make your offers stand out and grab your followers’ attention. Additionally, by using the right hashtags and geotags, you can increase the visibility of your promotions and reach a wider audience.
Share Patient Success Stories
You can showcase your work and build trust with potential customers by sharing real stories of how your treatments have helped patients. You can also use these stories to inspire others and show your business’s impact on patients’ lives.
By highlighting your patients’ positive outcomes and experiences, you can demonstrate the effectiveness of your healthcare services and products. These stories can be shared as text, photos, or even video clips to give viewers a deeper look at the positive experiences others have had with your care.
When sharing patient success stories as Instagram Stories Highlights, getting permission from the patients involved and ensuring that the stories are genuine and not fabricated is important. Doing so can show potential customers that you genuinely care about your patients and have a successful track record of positive outcomes.
Highlight Community Involvement
Community involvement is a great way to showcase your commitment to the community and demonstrate your practice’s impact on the local area. Showing how the organization makes a positive difference can help build brand loyalty and strengthen relationships with current and potential patients.
Examples of community involvement you can highlight include sponsoring a local charity event, participating in a local health fair, or volunteering at a local food bank. You can create Instagram Stories highlighting your community involvement and share short clips or images of your practice participating in local events, conducting crowd-sourced fundraising campaigns, supporting local organizations, or volunteering in the community. You can even give a behind-the-scenes look at how the organization is making a difference in the local area.
Showcasing community involvement can also help to humanize your healthcare organization, making it more accessible and relatable. Sharing stories about your organization’s impact can help raise awareness and increase engagement from followers. Ultimately, leveraging Instagram Stories Highlights can be a powerful way to demonstrate your organization’s social responsibility.
Scope of Instagram Stories Highlights for Healthcare Marketing
Instagram Stories Highlights are a way to provide a glimpse into the values and personality of your practice and to showcase the impact you’re having on the lives of your patients. Whether you’re sharing behind-the-scenes footage, promoting special offers, or highlighting patient success stories, the key is to be creative and authentic in your approach.
By utilizing Instagram Stories Highlights, you can help build a strong online presence for your healthcare practice and increase the visibility of your services. Creating valuable content and engaging with your followers can help you establish yourself as a trusted healthcare provider and attract new patients.
Healthcare marketers have many options for using Instagram Stories Highlights for marketing campaigns. They can use creative visuals and storytelling elements to engage with their audience, boost brand awareness, and drive conversions.
Instagram is a powerful tool for healthcare organizations to market themselves to potential patients. In 2023, Instagram Stories Highlights will be integral to any healthcare marketing strategy, so marketers must start planning for the future.
With the right strategy and creative execution, healthcare marketers can deliver content that resonates with their audience and achieves their overall marketing goals. By leveraging the platform’s features and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content, they can increase their reach, build their brand, and grow their patient base in 2023 and beyond.
Featured Image Credit:
Secure and Transform Your Organization’s Data Through Data Masking
With the realization of what data can do in catering to users in providing a unique experience of a product or service, businesses are collating data from all sources. The collected data is huge in volume and is shared with many stakeholders to derive meaningful insights or to serve the customers.
This data sharing results in regular data breach occurrences that affect companies of all sizes and in every industry — exposing the sensitive data of millions of people every year and costing businesses millions of dollars. According to an IBM report, the average cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million, up from $4.24 million in 2021. It becomes imperative to secure access to sensitive data that flows across an organization for faster development, service, and production at scale without compromising its privacy.
Data masking anonymizes and conceals sensitive data
Data masking anonymizes or conceals this sensitive data while allowing it to be leveraged for various purposes or within different environments.
Create an alternate version in the same format as of data
The data masking technique protects data by creating an alternate version in the same format as of data. The alternate version is functional but cannot be decoded or reverse-engineered. The modified version of the original data is consistent across multiple Databases. It is used to protect different types of data.
Common data types (Sensitive data) for Data Masking
- PII: Personally Identifiable Information
- PHI: Protected Health Information
- PCI-DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
- ITAR: Intellectual Property Information
According to a study by Mordor Intelligence, “The Data Masking Market” was valued at USD 483.90 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 1044.93 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 13.69% over the forecast period 2021 — 2026.
In this information age, cyber security is very important.” Data masking helps secure this sensitive data by providing a masked version of the real-time data while preserving its business value (see: k2view dotcom; “what is data masking”). It also addresses threats, including Data Loss, Data Exfiltration, insider threats or account breach, etc.
Many data masking techniques are used to create a non-identifiable or undeciphered version of sensitive data to prevent any data leaks. It maintains data confidentiality and helps businesses to comply with data security standards such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), etc.
Common Methods of Data Masking
1. Static Data Masking
This method of data masking is very commonly used to mask data in a production environment. In this method, the hidden data retains its original structure without revealing the actual information. The data is altered to make it look accurate and close to its original characteristics so that it can be leveraged in development, testing, or training environments.
2. Dynamic data masking
This method is different from static masking in a way that active or live data is masked without altering the original data form. Thus, in this method, the data is masked only at a particular database layer to prevent unauthorized access to the information in different environments.
With this method, organizations can conceal data dynamically while managing data requests from third-party vendors, parties, or internal stakeholders. It is used to process customer inquiries around payments or handle medical records within applications or websites.
Informatica offers PowerCenter with PowerExchange for Extract Transform Load (ETL) and ILM for data masking. These products embody best practices for handling large datasets across multiple technologies and sources.
Informatica Dynamic Data Masking anonymizes data and manages unauthorized access to sensitive information in production environments, such as customer service, billing, order management, and customer engagement. Informatica PowerCenter Data Masking Option transforms production data into real-looking anonymized data.
3. On-the-fly data masking
The on-the-fly data masking method is considered ideal for organizations that integrate data continuously. With this method, the data is masked when transferred from a production environment to another environment, such as a development or test. A portion of data or smaller subsets of data is masked, as required, thus eliminating the need to create a continuous copy of masked data in a staging environment, which is used to prepare data.
Different platforms use each or a combination of these methods to implement data masking. For example, K2view offers data masking through the data product platform that simplifies the data masking process of all the data related to specific business entities, such as customers, orders, credit card numbers, etc.
The K2view platform manages the integration and delivery of this sensitive data of each business entity masked in its encrypted Micro-Database. It uses dynamic data masking methods for operational services like customer data management (customer 360) or Test data (test data management), etc.
Another example of using both static and dynamic data masking methods is Baffle Data Protection Services (DPS). It helps to mitigate the risks of data leakage from different types of data, such as PII, Test data across a variety of sources. With Baffle, businesses can build their own Data Protection Service layer to store personal data at the source and manage strong access controls at that source with Adaptive Data Security.
Popular Data Masking Techniques
Data Encryption is the most common and reliable data-securing technique. This technique hides data that needs to be restored to its original value when required. The encryption method conceals the data and decrypts it using an encryption key. Production data or data in motion can be secured using data encryption technology, as the data access can be limited to only authorized individuals and can be restored as required.
The Data Scrambling technique secures some types of data by rearranging the original data with characters or numbers in random order. In this technique, once the data is scrambled with random content, the original data cannot be restored. It is a relatively simple technique, but the limitation lies with only particular types of data and less security. Any data undergoing scrambling is viewed differently (with randomized characters or numbers) in different environments.
The Nulling Out technique assigns a null value to sensitive data in order to bring anonymity to the data to protect data from unauthorized usage. In this technique, the null value in place of original information changes the characteristics of data and affects the usefulness of data. The method of removing data or replacing data with a null value takes away its usefulness — making it unfit for test or development environments. Data integration becomes a challenge with this type of data manipulation, which is replaced with empty or null values.
The shuffling data technique makes the hidden data look authentic by shuffling the same column values that are shuffled randomly to reorder the values. For instance, this technique is often used to shuffle employee names columns of records such as Salaries; or, in the case of patient names, columns shuffled across multiple patient records.
The shuffled data appear accurate but do not give away any sensitive information. The technique is popular for large datasets.
Data Redaction (blacklining)
The Data Redaction technique, also known as blacklining, does not retain the attributes of the original data and masks data with generic values. This technique is similar to nulling out and is used when sensitive data in its complete and original state is not required for development or testing purposes.
For instance, the replacement of credit card number with x’s (xxxx xxxx xxxx 1234) displayed on payment pages in the online environment helps to prevent any data leak. At the same time, the replacement of digits by x helps developers to understand what the data might look like in real-time.
The Substitution technique is considered to be the most effective for preserving the data’s original structure, and it can be used with a variety of data types. The data is masked by substituting it with another value to alter its meaning.
For example, in the customer records substituting the first name ‘X’ with ‘Y’ retains the structure of the data and makes it appear to be a valid data entry, yet provides protection against accidental disclosure of the actual values.
Data masking has emerged as a necessary step for transforming real-time data to non-production environments while maintaining the security and privacy of sensitive data.
Masking of data is crucial when managing large volumes of data and gives the authorization to dictate the access of data in the best possible way.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Pexels; Thank you!