I love some of the ideas that turn up in my inbox every day. This week, my favourite was the announcement from the TUC that Britain’s long hours culture is ‘bad for work-life balance’.
The TUC say that if everyone in the country did all their unpaid overtime in one go, tomorrow would be the first time they’d be paid.
As a result, and because they’re terribly considerate, the TUC have decided to make tomorrow ‘work your proper hours day’, a day when the people of Britain can clock off promptly at five and run off into the sunset, guilt free and ready to spend time with their families/friends/games consoles.
I can see entrepreneurs up and down the country snorting in derision at the very idea: by its very nature, being employed by a small business generally means long hours, confusing job descriptions, and not very much money.
Not that that seems to put people off: for many, working for a small business is far more rewarding than working for a large company.
I can see the TUC’s point, but for many sectors, money isn’t everything. Imagine if the voluntary sector mutinied over low pay – we could potentially be facing a situation where a nation of Oxfam shops is left unattended. What would we do then? Where would we buy our 80s video tapes?
Many small businesses – and Innocent is a perfect example – openly admit that they can’t pay their employees as much as they would like to. Instead they give them all sorts of perks, including ‘life experience’ sabbaticals, and £1,000 when they have a child.
The TUC has missed the point: workers are happy to put in extra hours if they know they aren’t being taken for granted. It’s like J.Paul Getty said: ‘look after the workers, and the hours will look after themselves’ – or something like that, anyway.