On a four-day week:
Plans for a four-day working week with no adjustment to pay were quashed by the Wellcome Trust just a few months ago. The organisation concluded that it was too complex, and could not be introduced equitably across the 800-strong workforce in the UK.
But Pursuit Marketing in Glasgow moved a to a four-day working week in 2016 and claims this has been instrumental in a 30% increase in the company’s productivity.
These are still exceptions. The reality is that millions of people would like to work less but cannot, due to stagnating wages and the increasing cost of living. But the emerging evidence of plummeting stress levels, happier people AND increased productivity is likely to position the move as a policy and legislation option. Get ahead of the game, don’t wait for it to be mandatory!
On equitable society:
The biggest issues of the day are those that are the trickiest to tangibly define. Like it or not, there is a shift happening in how citizens collectively want the world to operate. Some perceive that change is being driven by Gen Y, but in truth it is less about a push by a single generation, and much more about a rising inter-generational awareness of the things that matter – a join up on shared values that transcends age, gender and race.
Business owners and models that can pivot in response to consumer and citizen values in how they live, work and party will be the ones that break tradition, disrupt and grow quickly in appeal and resonance. Watch how these globally minded companies are shaping their path: Selina, Oyo, Fairbnb. Sweetgreens, Stitch Fix, Apeel Sciences
On diversity making a difference:
1) “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” – Michael Pollan
2) “We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” ~ The Story of Stuff
3) Eco proof your commute – take public transport, ride a bike, car-share, go electric or hybrid for your vehicle and fly less
The take away is the massive impact that can be realised collectively we if we work together. On a personal AND business level there is comfort in numbers. In business, taking a principled initiative on these impactful actions (and values) will yield benefit; fail to do so and there will be a cost to pay. For a start, no one will want to work for you if you don’t show tacit responsibility for your role in positive impact.
On ethical and moral business intentions:
Comparisons are being made between today’s start-up IPOs and Microsoft’s flotation in 1986. When Microsoft went public, it issued a 52-page prospectus that provided four years of financial detail and healthy profits. By comparison the 431-page IPO document issued for Uber’s flotation has been described by commentator Rett Wallace in the Financial Times as full of “platitudes and gobbledegook”, with its mission “to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion”.
This ‘style’ of IPO, in which companies get big before they get profitable, prompted Wallace to ask “what these giant flotations of huge loss-making companies say about the state of markets”.
Perhaps there is a simpler explanation? Does nobility of mission and meaningful narrative count for more than we think? Will the markets respond more favourably to ethical and moral intentions and expectations of the future than to straightforward financial results? If that is the case, a mission “to elevate the world’s consciousness” will be difficult to argue against. The business world – public and private sectors, should watch this space.
“What so many are looking for is an inclusive, kind, people-centred approach by government, businesses and society.”