A Look at the Work Week

What’s A Work Week?

Time is an important concept. Maybe now more than ever because it helps us structure our daily lives in a comprehensible way. We created a seven-day week to develop cycles we all could follow. Ironically, however, time is not something we can control.

Today’s technology gives our sense of time a rigidity that results in it becoming our foe. We are always working with and against time.  It wasn’t always so. People worked hard and had a few days off each week to spend time for families and relaxation.

Can you imagine doing that with your smartphone always nearby?

Here’s a look at how Katrina Onstad of Quartz Magazine treats the idea of time and the work week.

Time Becomes Boss

Since the Industrial Revolution, clocks have driven our tasks. Productivity is now measured by how much work can be extracted in a given amount of time. This led to inhumane treatment of workers in order to meet the demands of ticking time. during that period, Breaks were reduced or, in some cases, eliminated completely. Time had now become the boss. 

Original Weekend

Before the official weekend was created, many people had a few days off anyway. Employees would take off the day after their received their pay checks to enjoy themselves. This celebration, if you will, involved spending hard-earned money. Even low-paid workers were known to sacrifice a day’s pay to have a few days of relaxation. 

Capitalist Contribution

The American auto-tycoon Henry Ford is to thank for the work schedule we have in our country today. In 1914, Ford doubled the hourly wage of workers in his factories to drive more demand for his product and give people incentive for working hard at their job. Ford figured that people who take off two days a week to spend time on leisurely activities have more possessions and a greater need for transportation. This coincides with our current sense of the weekend as a time for both relaxation and consumption.

In next week’s blog, we’ll look at other time-related factors that have shaped our notions of what a work week is.

To read Onstad’s complete article, click here.

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Silly & Smart 

Flexible Public Relations


How Flexible

 Is Your Public Relations Campaign?

You know that it order to be understood, you have to speak in a way that has meaning for the ones you are directing our information to.

Your public relations campaign is no different. Think about it: you are trying to reach a vast array of people via traditional and online media opportunities. For example, what you say in a tweet will need to be different from what you write in a blog or ezine column. It can be the same basic message but it has to be delivered in a way that is appropriate. I liken the process to one I learned while studying Latin in college. Spanish and French are both rooted in Latin so in theory  both can be understood, right? Not so. Speaking Spanish in France will not be as effective as speaking French and you know why.

Add to this the complexity and ever-changing media world and you can easily lose sight of how to best present your message. For that reason your  public relations campaigns have got to be flexible and versatile. That means  knowing when and how to switch tracks on a particular public relations trail – on short notice, if need be. And that also requires being informed about the various angles of your message as well as the ways media works.

Tips to help you retain your flexibility

  • Be willing to recognize what isn’t working: Does your news angle have relevance to the media you are sending it to? Do your tweets have value that others are responding to?
  • Be willing to show don't tell: Use professionally cited examples of your message in action, not theory. Humanize your campaign wherever possible and localize if necessary, adapting to suit the needs of the media you are attempting to engage.
  • Be respectful: Most of the media personnel you interact with have to be very flexible. Sometimes your story won't  make it to the page or the screen because an editor decided, last minute, to change the reporter/writer's course.

A planned campaign is always the best starting point. Know what your message is and which media types are best suited to deliver that message to target markets and audiences. Having an understanding of this will help you make choices – expected or not.  It will allow you and your campaign to keep swimming if and when the currents change. And in today’s information age, that happens often.

Flexibility means talking ‘off topic’ if necessary. For example, a client of mine has a woodworking hobby. Staying flexible, we got him a great full page interview in a prestigious business journal that profiled him as someone who had a life ‘outside of the office’.

Developing flexibility takes practice and depends upon your comfort level. But it's worth the effort because it allows you to adapt your public relations campaign so that it can be delivered to as many people as possible in a way that really matters to them. 

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News Wire Strategy

Include News Wire In Your Strategy

When assessing your public relations strategy tool kit, do not overlook news wire services as media opportunities.  These news organizations – comprised of editors, reporters and photographers - provide regional, national and international news coverage on a range of topics to a wide range of media outlets, including newspaper, print and TV. A few of the more well-known ones are Associated Press and Reuters.

These news aggregate sites can create a win-win situation for your public relations campaign because they are able to bring larger audience attention to local issues. Today there was an Associated Press story about a Charleston police officer’s plea in relation to the shooting of an unarmed motorist. This was a local event but, because it is also an issue of interest across the country, it has national relevance.

On the other hand, that same story presented on the wire service’s national news page, can be a source of additional information – a larger geographic context -  for a local TV station reporting on similar events in their coverage area.  

Become familiar with how news wire organizations work. If you find there a story related to the news you are pitching to your local media, mention it. Provide a link for the editor or reporter and definitely connect the dots between this ‘larger interest’ story and yours.

It may also be possible to do just the opposite. Include information about local coverage in your direct pitch to these new wire reporters and editors.

Wire Service Backstory

The term ‘wire service’ harkens back to days when newspapers used telegraph techniques to communicate with offices across the country. Today’s electronic world has made it possible for wire service broadcasts to quickly assist subscribing news outlets in expanding the context of their news. In some cases, regional wire service organizations provide local news ideas that can help fill the gaps in a slow news day.

It’s important to note that some wire services can also distribute your press release to member media outlets. Because of that, we think it’s a good idea to become familiar with all the wire service options that exist. They range from free to paid distribution and/or access to news story catalogs.

To help you get started, here are a few wire service organizations to check out

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