Trials of a four-day week are currently under way around the world and it’s hoped the new model will improve employees’ work-life balance and help organisations recruit talented people. The attraction of working 80% of the time for 100% of pay are obvious, but there are major factors to consider before taking the plunge: will organisations be able to maintain productivity levels? Is there a danger that compressing work into four days will cause further work stress? And could part-time employees miss out on this new benefit?
Join Nigel Cassidy and this month’s guests – Tom Gibby, co-founder and CMO of The Bot Platform, and Charlotte Lockhart, founder and managing director of 4 Day Week Global – as we question whether the four-day week is the solution to the changing 21st century world of work.
Nigel Cassidy: Four days work for five days pay, what's not to like? Well, how about the bit where you have to help everyone deliver 100% of their usual output in just 80% of the time. I'm Nigel Cassidy and this is the CIPD podcast.
NC: It was the way we suddenly found we had to work during the pandemic, which I guess stoked the clamour for a four day working week. Our yearning for a better quality of life had found a focus after a century, the five day working pioneered by Henry Ford was being challenged. But then came war in Ukraine, soaring energy costs and inflation chaos in the economic management of the UK and a lack of business confidence generally. So you might think, as I did, that this may not be the time to cut down the working week. But four day week trials are fully underway in several major countries. 70 UK companies are mid experiment from a local chippy to large financial firms, 3,000 staff in all. So how's it panning out with most workers probably already saying they're overstretched, how can you reorganise to allow a 20% reduction in working hours for the same money? Can we possibly square this circle? Well in a moment, a really interesting chat that I had earlier with a games development company right in the throes of this six month trial of four day working weeks, it's the so-called 100:80:100 model, that is 100% pay, for 80% of the time for 100% of the output. That coming later, but with me now, the cofounder of an employee experience tech provider who's on record is a bit of a sceptic of a one size fits all cut in working hours, he's The Bot Platform's Tom Gibby. Hello.
Tom Gibby: Hello. It's lovely to be here today.
NC: And on behalf of the CIPD and I'm delighted to welcome to the podcast, the founder and MD of the four day week global campaign. She's a business advocate, an investor and a philanthropist with more than 25 years experience in numerous industries. It's Charlotte Lockhart. Hello.
Charlotte Lockhart: Good morning or evening, or hello, whatever time you're listening to this podcast.
NC: It's a bit earlier where you are than where we are.
CL: It is
NC: So Charlotte, here in the UK we may have what are claimed to be the longest working as in Europe, but 100% of the pay for 80% of the time, 100% percent of the output. This is a big leap into the unknown, especially now. So what's the point of this trial and what you hope that employers might do with its findings?
CL: Well, it's quite interesting that you describe it as a bit of a leap into the unknown, because actually there have been a number of companies that have been doing it for quite some time. Even our own company, Perpetual Guardian, started doing it in, at the beginning of 2018. So what we're finding now is that and some research that we have underway is that there is true valid pathways to do this in the long term, so not just as a pilot trial. And why now? Because now, more than ever, we need our businesses to be as efficient and as productive as they possibly can. Economic times are tough, so is this not the time to be clear about what our productivity is and how we can improve it? And the reason why we give people time off is because that is the thing that gives something incentive to help you do it, it's a partnership between employees and employers.
NC: OK, well we'll go a bit more into the detail in a moment, but this has to be an exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% productivity. And Tom, it's almost like a bit of a threat here isn't it, if you don't give us exactly the same output, then it's back to gruel and five days a week?
TG: Well exactly and it's one of those things that maybe sounds lovely in theory, but when it gets to practice you start to question, are there going to be some secret, hidden sacrifices that I'm going to now have to make maybe, during those other four days where I really need to be, almost over productive for those four days to maybe make up for the fifth day that's being dropped out. That said, I think we can all agree, we all deserve a four day week, right? What's not to love about a four day week? It sounds great. Life has obviously been exhausting for the last few years, it was exhausting in our working life pre-pandemic. Technology's moved on to a point for many employees where work was already always on, but effectively where we are now, it's created this whole debate where people have, there's been a real shift in what people expect and want from work and their employers. A change in what people value, a move to a far healthier work life balance, a focus on mental and physical wellness. So it's totally natural actually that after so many shifts about where we work and how we work and the technology tools we're using to work, that the next part of the debate would be, well, when do we work?
NC: OK. So Charlotte how do you reconcile this desire of smart employers to plug into people's aspirations, to give them more time, to be concerned about their wellbeing, which might be more time with their families and yet, if you concentrate the work, if you intensify it, the chances are that people are going to work longer hours on the days they are working and we may not be any better off?
CL: I see, but we're all falling into the same trap when we're confusing busyness with productivity. So it's a large part of what we do when we are working with our businesses, is to get them to define what truly matters in the business to provide the outcome that the business is there for. And so we're not saying you necessarily jump into a four day week and that's us, we're a four day week company. We say run a pilot to find out how you can reduce work time, so how can you improve productivity and be able to reduce work time? And so therefore what you're doing is you're working in partnership with your employees, it's not an us and them and it's not a threat or anything. It is, if we can keep productivity at the same level, we want to find a way so that you can go home. It removes the threat, it removes the us and then because actually everyone is truly looking for something. So we're not necessarily saying that it will be every Friday off. One of the biggest criticisms of the four day week is, well I just can't close my office for a whole day. And it's like, well don't try. Actually find the way that you can reduce time in other ways. And let's face it, I'll give you a good story around what that is. In one of the organisations we have a father who comes in at 10 o'clock in the morning every day, having walked his daughter to school. Now giving him Fridays off is lovely, but he could only do this really special thing in his life once a week. But we, in this scenario, give him the opportunity to be something, now there aren't too many fathers listening today I imagine, that wouldn't have loved to have been that dad.
NC: But you do call it the four day week campaign. And people have got a bit fixated on 80%, one day off.
CL: Well this is why we developed the 100:80:100 principle, because then it helps you define time. So we call ourselves four day week because let's face it, that's what people understand and I do spend quite a lot of time saying, look, how about we just talk about a reduced hour work? How about we're talking about 32 hours? But what do I do with my employees who are working 50 or 60 hours? What do I do with my employees who are only working 20? 100:80:100 rule allows us to look at, what is the time that you are allocating to work now and how can we look to reduce that? I had one MD from a large company go, well look, I know on average my people work 53 hours, so I don't know how I would get down to 30 or 32. And I said, well how about you just try it out, try to get down to 40? So it's about acknowledging that the amount that we are working these days, isn't good for us. It's not good for our health, it's not good for our families, it's not good for our planet, it's not good for our businesses, it's actually not achieving anything. If you can get your business productivity done in less time, then why are you driving people in for more time? It's better for gender balance, because fathers are able, we've done so much to pull women up in the workforce, but we're not doing enough to let our men out.
NC: Charlotte that's great. Let's, at this point, see how it's actually panning out at a real company. Charmaine Clavier St-John is Head of People at Hutch, a startup who are part of this four day week experiment. It's a game studio employing 140 people and I asked her what was the reaction when she told staff they were getting an extra day off a week for the next six months?
Charmaine Clavier-St John: To be honest, we told the troops quite a way after we had started thinking about it. We were starting to think about people coming back post COVID, what the world of work meant to everyone and we, when we finally announced it, it was on, we were still remote, it was on an all staff call via video link. And it was quite an epic moment, if I'm honest, literally seeing hundreds of jaws dropping before your eyes and the chat light up with things like, this is the best thing ever, the company's amazing. So yeah, that was quite a, that was quite a moment after months of toing and froing, was it the right thing, should we doing it now, is it right for the business, will it work, will it not?
NC: But did the staff have second thoughts when they realised that, I'm assuming as a business, you were expecting 100% of the work in 80% of the time? Most people say they're pretty stressed at work already, they're fully occupied. So how did you deal, presumably you'd already thought about how you were going to start dealing with that, but did people start to worry when they really thought about what it meant?
CCJ: They really did. And even prior to announcing it to all staff, there were some questions at leadership level. We brought in the line managers before we announced to everyone else and they had some, some of those had some reservations too, as you say, I'm currently working all the hours God sends in a five day week, what if we're more stressed? Something that we hadn't anticipated at the time was a few members of staff, we've got 140 members of staff here at Hutch, but there were three or four that were quite against the idea of a four day week and we hadn't anticipated that at all.
NC: So are they free to work the extra day?
CCJ: So initially we thought it would be something that everyone would do. And what we said, we heard from them, they, it might be for mental health reasons, or they moved here from abroad, haven't got many family. So what we did was, we didn't make it mandatory, we said, look if you really wanted to work on that fifth day you could, we wouldn't make it mandatory. We were also thinking about ways that we could support them, would we allow them to come into the office on that day together, we currently work from home, but would they come in, would we look at volunteering options together as a team of them, so they could do that together? By the time we got to the trial and starting it in June, everybody, 100% of the staff signed up.
NC: So what do you have in place to ensure that the end result for your company, the creativity, but the actual graft is done and that your productivity hasn't dropped with people there for 20% less time, whether physically in the office or at home?
CCJ: That's the question that everyone wants to ask, right? How do you measure productivity? There, I think for every company it's different. We are part of the UK trials, so we have the support of Cambridge University and Boston College in the States carrying out research alongside us and surveying the teams and that kind of thing. But initially we wanted to make sure of course that there was rigour behind this, but we tried to measure too much. And I think that's been a key learning for us as going through this that, we had every single team, we have, as I said at the beginning, we set up a task force that's been brilliant, we've got reps from every team and they came back with what was realistic from their teams to be able to measure. So for example, of course the obvious things like revenues, sickness data, but we had other teams relevant to them coming back to us too, so things like the office team, number of tasks completed, the licensing team, licences pushed over the line and that kind of thing. But when it came to the measurements, it was proving to be counterproductive when we first did that first measurement dip, so we've scaled that right back. But we are tracking things as I say, wellbeing of course, burnout, number of hours worked, sickness data, turnover, sprint velocity is a key one for the type of business that we're in.
NC: What's that?
CCJ: So it's the number of, we produce mobile phone games and we work on a project basis that we have two week sprints and it's the number of points averaged out over those sprints that we complete, as part of deadlines and that.
NC: OK. So what is your sense of how successful this has been so far, how likely you are to stay with it, whether everything is getting done that you would've done before with everybody working an extra day?
CCJ: It hasn't been without which challenges, there have been moments, especially at the start where there was a real adjustment, we noticed that stress levels had gone up. We do a four weekly check in survey, just a few key questions and we noticed that people were saying they were working extra hours. That's starting to, well that has started to really scale back, so most people saying that they feel they are completing 100% of the work in 80% of the time. I've got lots of managers telling us how impressed they are with their teams. As part of the task force, we have people feeding back their challenges and wins every week, the challenges are becoming much less a case and the wins much more. Again, team leads, people telling us they feel more refreshed, more productive. Lots of things that we've implemented at team level and at company level to make this a success, so for example, there's been a quiet hour that's been implemented, because people were telling us it'd be helpful to have some deep work time or no meeting time. So we carried out a meeting audit across the whole business, every team was asked to track and to template what regular meetings occurred, what was the purpose, who attended how frequent, that kind of thing. So we've done a real program of scaling that back, so most meetings --
NC: Didn't the process itself though, make people more efficient with meetings, because they were trying to use their time in a better way?
CCJ: Quite possibly, we hardly have weekly meetings that run for an hour any more, they're often pushed now to biweekly, to 30 minutes. There's other things that are more practical, so for example as I said, people asked us for, they needed that deep work time or just to, we sit in an open plan office, so there's things like, we have a bar area upstairs which isn't used, it's used for social events or end of the month. But in the day it's a lovely space with lots of stools and couches and that kind of thing, it's not used in the day, so we've made that a quiet area a bit like a quiet carriage on a train. Things like the Pomodoro Technique, which none, not many of us had even heard of before the trial and it's a tool to help with productivity and break up your day into chunks that you can focus, so people are using that.
NC: This is a physical platform people use?
CCJ: Yeah it's a platform, so it's on our intranet but you can get them, it's quite widely available on different platforms and sites and apps, so people are using that. Different processes, so everyone's done a real job of looking at what they can do differently. For example, our engineers and the technical guys have decided that they aren't going to release updates the day before the weekend.
NC: And people always have Friday off, is that how it works for you?
CCJ: We originally thought Friday would be the day. Then just heard some rumours that a few people would prefer a Monday and we thought, you know what, we should probably ask. So we did. And it came back overwhelmingly that people wanted Friday off, I think it was something like 96% and the key reason was, they felt more productive at the beginning of the week. Second reason was that it would allow them more time to spend with family and friends.
NC: Do you think you've boxed yourself into a corner now? Because it sounds to me, though there are questions about the productivity you kind of slightly weren't able to answer that directly, but people aren't going to want to go back, aren't you going to have to keep working four days now?
CL: No, I don't think that's the case. We were, now our CEO was clear right from the start that we have to make this work. This is about making sure that we can maintain 100% productivity in 80% of the time, in order to get 100% of the pay. So we will be getting all of the data back from the universities in December, we'll be assessing that with our own data, but it was made clear to everyone, we've, everybody has signed into an opt in that sets out expectations about what's expected and as of 1 January, we will revert back to five days a week, unless we confirm otherwise. However, what I will say is it doesn't have to be all or nothing, but it might be that we decide, yes, it could be of course that we might need to go back to five days a week. So far that's not looking like it would be the case, but it's a possibility of course. But it could be that we come back four or five days a week for a short period and collectively we look at any other tools or processes or, that can be implemented or adjusted, to make this a success long term. It could be that we go to five days a week, but shorter days, or alternate Fridays. The key thing and some of it isn't even brain, it's not hugely scientific things that been adapted, but things like the meetings, we've spent a huge amount of time as I say, preparing for this at the start, months beforehand, looking at ways and tools and processes and things that we could be doing differently. So, even worst case we came back to five days a week we're, we've learnt so much, we're a much more productive business as a result.
NC: This is all fascinating, I could talk for hours and ask you a lot more, just one more question. And that is that, what kind of functions within the organisations have been the most difficult to adapt? Because I was looking at, for example Wellcome, the pharma company, found it hard going for their finance, their IT, their HR teams found it very, very difficult, whereas maybe creatives in the game industry can adapt better.
CL: To be honest I haven't heard of particular teams. There's particular individuals, who I think every company will have those individuals that will always work longer hours and I think whether you are five days a week or four days a week, those people will find things challenging, so that's something that we've been working, we've worked with people on. Speaking honestly, I was always a four day week before we entered the trial, I found moments where actually it's tricky for me, because I always had the luxury of a team that was working five days a week and I could quietly give them a couple of emails to help out on, or message them on a Friday. So there's been moments when I've had to go, I can't do that anymore, I need to be the role model, I shouldn't be working on a Friday you know? So I think for individuals, those die hard people that have always worked out, that's been, it's been challenging for them, but they've adjusted. We're all doing different things, we have a quiet hour in my team every Monday after we have our team catch up, to get on with work, I have other people in the analytics team that do different things, like they have a rule within their diaries, so that if you ever go over five hours of meeting time, meetings are removed into another day, so you always have at least two hours to get on with the work every day. So there's, people are adjusting and doing things differently. But what we're certainly not hearing is that balls are dropping, we're not meeting deadlines, or any real reason to think that, actually, we need to stop this. That's certainly not something that we're seeing at all.
NC: Charmaine Clavier-St John, Head of People at Hutch Game Studio, well thank you to her. So Tom, let's pick up on something that she said there, about the fact that they were measuring too much, it became unwieldy when they started this experiment, they had to cut down. But I am guessing that, without a lot of data it is very hard to know if your four day week, or your 80 instead of 100 staff hours worked, is going to be viable long term.
TG: Well yeah and I think that again, that's where the question comes down to, what are, what do we think the benefits of this will be and how do we measure that? And I think it was really interesting that she touched on things like, a possible reduction in areas of absenteeism that negatively impacts productivity. So areas like a reduction in sick days, maybe we could see that a reduction in staff stress or a reduction in burnout is beneficial to a company's bottom line and a company's general engagement of their workforce and all that kind of stuff. Even with things like, just taking this lens and Charlotte, I love what you were saying about almost how we're measuring productivity and it not just being about presenteeism, but it being about output. And I think even just thinking about, not even moving from a five day to a four day, but how could we work more efficiently? The Bot Platform is all about empowering people to build their own work tools, that allow them to work in more productive and efficient ways, but even something as basic as looking at, this recurring meeting we have, this one hour meeting, that 10 people are in every single week, that takes up 10 hours of time, does that need to be a meeting? Could this be biweekly, could it be done in a more async way where it's more of like a video that's posted and people drop comments on it, or it's a text based post, or something like that? So I think there was some really interesting things touched on in terms of the benefits, but the thing that really stands out for me is, how do people measure it? And I think until you can get to a really firm level of measuring outcomes and output, it's always going to feel a bit soft when people are trying to explain what the benefits are, the output, the outcome, also massively depends on the job, the role and the area of work that you're trying to measure.
NC: So Charlotte, when companies start the experiment, what is in place that you put in there with your researchers and people monitoring, to actually work out whether companies are continuing to hit the spot and enabling people to have more time of their own?
CL: Well so the interesting thing about measuring productivity in a business is, you're either doing it in your business already, or you're not. Now most businesses have some form of measuring how successful they are and so what is explained in that interview of course, is that they try to employ a whole pile of new measures, to see whether new measures were what suited their business to look at different things. Realistically what she's saying is they've kept a couple of the new measures, but on the whole they're just measuring what they measured before. So if those measures were sufficient before, is it necessary to have a whole another layer of measures if it doesn't suit the business to be bothered with measuring them? Now, but --
NC: That's very interesting.
CL: Yeah and so, so one of the things that people often say in this is, but how was that with the four day week? And I'm like, yeah, but how was it with the five day week? People say, the four day week doesn't suit everyone and I'm like, yeah, but the five day week doesn't suit everyone either. So actually it's interesting what we try and attribute to this change and actually removing what we're actually trying to achieve. I think Thomas is 100% right, often businesses aren't measuring things properly and they're not measuring them, they're not measuring the right things, but it's still always that business's decision as to whether they do that or not. And also further to what he was saying, what running an experiment does is, at its core, asks you to question everything that you're doing. The meetings thing, in the office space the meetings thing is the most incredible waste of time and we all know this, it's in every single time management book you could pull up from the airport bookstore.
NC: And we heard examples of that in the case study, clearly. I just want to ask you Tom, what are the issues that are most likely to arise, if a company were to start this?
TG: There's a few things I'll probably list off here. The answer to all of this as Charlotte says is, if people measure their output correctly, this becomes less of an issue. But you're totally right, there is hypothetically an issue of compressed hours and burnout that could happen, if I was previously doing five, eight hour days and now I'm doing four, am I expected to do four, ten hour days to make up the time? And while in organisations influenced by myself and Charlotte and many others, that might not be the case, I know for a fact there are many other work environments out there that might take more of a black and white approach to this. Then you have to think about, well what are those impacts? So let's take the father who walks his child to school every morning, take the father that takes his kid to football practise every Tuesday at 7.00pm and he used to be able to do that because he finished work at 6.00pm, but now he finishes work at 8.00pm because he gets Friday off. So I can see issues around that, I can definitely see issues around formalised reductions in vacation, or potentially even worse unformalised, like pressure, don't take the vacation, you get that time off with that extra day and surely a longer period of time off is much better for our recovering from burnout and all the rest of it, than just having one day here and there. But then I think the big thing for me then comes down to, which day are people off and who gets to choose? And Charlotte, I know you said at the beginning that it shouldn't be, we only work Monday to Thursday and then we're off on Friday and it should be maybe a bit more flexible, but there will have to be a point where there are --
NC: Well it has to be if you're, if other companies want to call you, if you've got ongoing jobs.
NC: You can't have an empty office, can you?
TG: You're going to need to have some sort of, like these people work here, these people work there, but who's deciding that? And I think that kind of becomes an issue, all that's happening here is, the employer is still deciding which days we work, nothing's really changed culturally there, the employer's still saying you have to work these days. And then the final thing of course, is when different companies work with each other. So if you have an advertising agency and they work five days a week, but they're organising a TV shoot with a company that's on a four day policy, trying to arrange those calendars might be really difficult. If both are on four days and one works Monday to Thursday and one works Tuesday to Friday, that calendar syncing is going to be a nightmare. So I think unless you really formalise this, a lot of unexpected complications start to appear and I feel like the second you start to formalise it, it just becomes another employment law.
NC: So Charlotte, how should HR and others best prepare and monitor and experiment? How do you try and anticipate some of these issues and set up an experiment that can be really useful, even if you don't fully go back to a four day week at the end?
CL: Look, I think that all of these issues that Tom raises are the questions that you are looking to resolve in your experiments. So Nigel, you're 100% correct with how that is. So that's why you run a trial. When you do this it has to be right for the business, right for the customers and right for your people and so you are working towards that. Now, if you've got a company that has a poor corporate culture and the boss is used to just demanding stuff off their people, you are not the right sort of company to be trialing something like this. You've got different problems. The companies that make this a success, are the ones who work in a modern workforce, which acknowledges that the future of work in their business and in their industry, includes collaboration and it is a case of everyone working together. So Tom, to your point about the chap who comes in at 10 o'clock in the morning, so on that particular team, he comes in at 10 o'clock in the morning, his team leader leaves at 3 o'clock in the afternoon because he collects children from school. There is another chap who takes a whole day off work and there is another person in the organisation who takes two afternoons. And I said to them, my giddy aunt, how complicated is that? How do you, they said, look it was, it took a bit of getting used to, but at now broadly doesn't come up. So it's one of those things that's around, how you work together as a team, how you work collaboratively and what we find in companies that are culturally appropriate for something like this, it is the best team building exercise that you will ever do. And that was, even the experience we found at Perpetual Guardian, we're also one of those companies that's, that was a bit siloed, 240 people you're going to end up with silos and we had people going, oh I didn't even know she worked for our company and now I really understand what she does and her job role. And so it's about how they shared ideas as to how to reduce time, we had an internet that we used, so some of it's about the mechanisms that you use within that. And then back to the clients, very much it has to work for your clients too and that largely comes down to how you communicate with them and how you adjust the programme to meet their needs as well. Now sometimes, for example, I was on an interview with a lady the other day who said that they'd had a bit of a launch and so she'd had to come in, or be, have her phone on, on the Friday, they take Fridays off, because she needed to take calls. But she said, I would have needed to have done that on the five day week, I'd have taken calls on the Saturday. So it's about sometimes understanding what people do and don't do, that is normative in a work environment.
TG: And the research definitely seems to imply that companies like it. That trial that's been going on in the UK, I think I saw it was more than, just under 3,500 workers across 73 companies, including banks, retailers, healthcare and hospitality, so a real breadth of different types of industries and different types of workers there. Now at the halfway point, I think they surveyed 41 of the 70 companies. 86% of them did agree that they would consider keeping the four day work week beyond the trial and 88% of them actually said the scheme is working well. And then when asked about productivity, nearly half of them said productivity had maintained around the same level, 34% said it improved slightly and 15% actually said it had improved significantly. So it would, I totally agree with you Charlotte that, start with the trial, see how it goes, ask your staff, ask management, ask stakeholders, see how it's going and then use that to improve. I suppose the thing is, if the issue is that workers and societies are feeling overworked, knackered, burnt out, is the four day working week the best solution, or actually should we, rather than going to that extreme, do we need to focus on some of the other things, like maximum hour contracts? Encouraging people to just take vacation and actually switch off when they're away. Embracing a generation of more empathetic and caring leaders and managers that make staff feel valued and appreciated, even allowing people to take vacation. It'll be fascinating to see what the results are of this pilot in the US, but there might be companies piloting it that only offer their staff 10 days holiday a year. An easy way to help them recharge is to increase the vacation. So I wonder if the four day working week actually ends up just slapping a plaster over the problem, without addressing the core issues that are causing us to feel overworked and burnt out.
CL: It's a very valid point. So what we find though is that when people run the pilot, those are the things that they are looking at as well. We are not talking about reducing annual leave of any form, or statutory holidays of any form either. In fact, actually what Perpetual Guardian did, is it hasn't even changed employment contracts, people opt in to the, what they call the productivity policy and so they get their extra time off and they get their, because their employment contract actually hasn't changed. And that was an anomaly because of New Zealand labour legislation, which is probably a very similar thing in the UK. Tom you mentioned it's really important to set true productivity and out outcome measures for people, but actually what we say is with people.
TG: Oh absolutely, yeah.
CL: That's the difference. Yeah and I know that's not what you meant, but it is actually an important, it's an important difference that we're actually going, how do we, because if you come into a business and you say, right guys, I want us to be more productive or we want better outcomes out of this, generally all that people hear is, you want me to do more with less and redundancies are on the way. And you don't make it safe. But if you say, look guys, if we can be more productive, look I'm happy with how productive we are right now, but if we can be more productive, you can have time to spend on whatever you want to spend it on, whether it be all the things that we, that people spend time on. And so this becomes, it really focuses on being a partnership, how can we be more productive so you can have more time? It's not a threat, it's about working together so we can both achieve something. And that more time applies to the bosses too.
NC: And Charlotte, this is a very beguiling picture of the workplace that you paint, but do we have to be careful what we wish for Tom? After an experiment some employers, I assume we are talking here about less enlightened ones, might just be tempted to cut everyone's hours and pay. These are hard financial times again now.
TG: Yeah, it's convenient that just when we're talking about going into a recession and there's lots of talks about budgets being cut, that we're also maybe starting to talk about reducing hours, but promising people the pay will stay the same. Also worth noting, that totally applies to salaried workers, but there's a major media corporation in New York and they have a large number of hourly employees and they rely on overtime, so if they're told that their hours have to be capped at a certain amount, that will result in a salary cut for them. So, again, I think in certain types of companies, this totally makes sense, I think in others it could be a bit of a disaster and very complicated to roll out.
NC: OK, we're coming to the end of our time now. But I just want to, if you could make just one point that draws this to a bit of a conclusion Charlotte.
CL: From my perspective, realistically, what we're talking about is, how does a business work with its people to create the best business? And business leaders need to remember that they borrow their people from their lives.
TG: There you go.
NC: And you wouldn't disagree with that Tom?
TG: No, no absolutely not. Your most important people are your staff. Businesses can't grow without an engaged, happy and productive workforce, so as much as we can do to encourage that the better. Well first of all, there's never going to be one singular model that works for everyone, every business is different. But ultimately, if we continue to judge productivity and this is where I think myself and Charlotte are completely aligned, if we continue to judge productivity based on presenteeism and time, rather than output and if we also on top of that, continue to just pass sweeping generalised laws, without understanding and appreciating how it will impact each and every business, even each department within a business, then we're not really improving work for the people who matter most.
NC: Well it's been an excellent discussion. Thank you so much to The Bot Platform's Tom Gibby there and Charlotte Lockhart, the founder and MD of the four day week global campaign and earlier we heard from Charmaine Clavier-St John, Head of People at Hutch and we thank her too. Resources as always online from the CIPD, on this and fourdayaweek.com has a campaign website. Please subscribe, if you don't already to these CIPD podcasts and check out our recent back catalogues. Some great listening for instance on, rebuilding lost trust and harnessing skills that employees can learn outside work following their personal interests, maybe on that extra day off, if they're lucky enough to get one on the same pay. But until next time from me Nigel Cassidy, it's goodbye.
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