Business Briefs: Recession-Proof Markets, Caring Employers & Digital Detoxes

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Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Masstige Markets

Given economic forecasts, it might be time to look at ventures that are recession proof. An unlikely candidate in this arena?

Masstige markets.

If the term “masstige” is unfamiliar itself, you’ve probably heard of the phenomena it describes: mass-produced, prestige products (hence, mass + tige). Common examples offered in the literature include Coach, Godiva, Starbucks and downmarket Gucci. Fancy stuff, but still within reach. 

Researchers assessed 177 survey responses to find out what motivated masstige purchases. The most common answers? The sense of gaining something a little unique and the generally good feelings associated with a minor spurge were both highly cited reasons to purchase masstige products. 

Interestingly, the quality of the product itself was not really a factor that motivated the subjects’ masstige purchases.  

Even more interestingly, the subjects expressed that their intentions to buy a masstige product would persevere, even in an economic downtown. That is, the need to have a few nice things is a (potentially) recession-proof desire. 

Read more here

Is it Recession-Proof? Masstige Purchase Intention: The Moderating Effect of Perceived Economic Crisis – Belay Addisu Kassie and Jounghae Bang, SHS Web of Conferences

Caring Counts

In general, it seems like it would be a good thing to work for a company that cares about you. Of course, there are boundaries: Too much caring could feel a little invasive. But for a company that cares generally about its employees’ wellbeing, research says that it improves employee retention and reduces employee stress. 

So we have bad news for leadership at companies in the U.S. – Employees are pretty sure you don’t care about them. In fact, although in 2020 during COVID, 49% of employees thought that their employer cared about their general well-being, Gallup’s most recent survey shows much lower numbers: less than 25% of employees today believe that their employer cares about them. The timely data was collected in 2022, in a survey of 15,001 full- and part-time employees. 

Read more here

Percent Who Feel Employer Cares About Their Well-Being Plummets – Jim Harter, Gallup Workplace

Digital Detoxing

Speaking of well-being…We’re all spending a lot of time online, at work and at home. That’s a lot of screen time, the impacts of which are still being studied by researchers. 

As a precautionary measure, perhaps its time to consider a little digital detox? Researchers wanted to explore the potential success of different workplace interventions to address overloads on screen time. So they surveyed 463 office workers to assess their responses to a variety of detox interventions. As it turns out, some detox plans are better than others.

The best plan seems to be offering “tech-free windows.” That’s an approach that identifies a period of time when all technology is put aside…like lunch time. According to the survey, that was viewed by respondents as having a positive impact on both well-being and performance. 

An approach that yielded mixed results was killing off notifications. While viewed as helpful to emotional well-being, removal also seemed to undermine productivity.  So the recommendation was to limit notifications to working hours, and have well-defined response time expectations.

And no-tech meetings (face-to-face, no phones allowed) was viewed as a disastrous idea, having a negative effect on well-being. 

Read more here

Disconnect to Reconnect: Employee Wellbeing Through Digital Detoxing – M. Umasankar, S. Boopathy, S. Padmavathy, Leena Fukey, and Rubee Singh,