Boardroom Briefing: a call for creative entrepreneurs, the benefits of a 4-day week and improving meetings


A call for entrepreneurs to stop being copycats, what a four-day week might mean for employers and employees, and improving the quality of your meetings. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.


Entrepreneurs need to start businesses that complement other businesses rather than something that already exists, says Petrus Ralda, the acting Managing Director of the PNG Small Medium Enterprise Corporation (SMEC).

He says people looking to get into business need to assess the profitability of the industry to see whether they can find a niche and still be successful.

‘Currently, we are doing copycat businesses. Why can’t we do related businesses that complement each other? In that way, businesses can support and grow with each other.’


The shorter work week is coming – in developed economies, anyway. It will continue a historical trend towards shorter working hours, driven by technological progress and labour rights – and, increasingly, robots. The idea is popular with workers and, in companies that have trialled a four-day week, employees with longer weekends are less stressed but just as productive, according to the BBC’s Christine Ro.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand financial services company, switched its 240 staff from a five-day to a four-day week last November and maintained their pay. Productivity increased in the four days they worked, a study of the trial showed. Staff stress levels fell from 45 per cent to 38 per cent. Work-life balance scores increased from 54 per cent to 78 per cent.

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An overview of meetings. Credit: Viewsonic

You might get more out of people at meetings if you make them feel more welcome, according to Australian software company and stockmarket darling, Atlassian.

It has released its Team Playbook, which contains tips on how to improve the quality of meetings, among other things.

‘Be conscious of: are all the men at centre of the table and the women at the edge? It matters how people make everyone feel welcome. Introduce people. This is just good business practice because, when it breaks down, it hurts those folks who are underrepresented the most,’ says Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian’s Global Head of Diversity and Belonging.

She recommends writing the agenda as a list of questions, preparing people for a discussion and sending out an invite to the people in the company who can contribute.

It clearly hasn’t done Atlassian any harm – its share price is up from US$82 to US$132 in the last 12 months.

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