Survey of French CEOs indicates that fewer meetings might ..

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Survey of French CEOs indicates that fewer meetings might actually boost business productivity Meetings harder to arrange with 35-hour week law say French CEOs, yet most say productivity increased in 2002 31 January 2003. As the DTI's public consultation on extending the working time regulations ends today, a poll of 300 CEOs of French companies by productivity improvement specialists Proudfoot Consulting indicates that fewer working hours leads to fewer meetings and, in turn, could be linked to higher labour productivity. The survey found that 43 percent of French CEOs believe management meetings are more difficult to arrange since the 35-hour week was introduced. At the same time only nine percent of CEOs believed productivity fell during 2002, and 61 percent of respondents said they thought productivity had actually risen. Proudfoot Consulting's chairman Kevin Parry says all the indications are that, in France at least, fewer meetings might actually boost labour productivity. "Anyone familiar with French life will know they have a well-known paradox about work: 'travailler moins, produire plus' - the less you work, the more you get done. Now, it seems, we can expand on that theme with: the less often you're engaged in meetings, the more productive you could be." Proudfoot Consulting found the link between meetings and productivity most marked in the retail sector. Here, 50 percent of CEOs said meetings were now more difficult to arrange. However, more than three-quarters (77%) also said they expected productivity in 2002 to increase. Kevin Parry continues: "When the Working Time Directive was first introduced here in 1998, executives complained that it created unnecessary paperwork, added extra cost to businesses and reducing their competitiveness. Our findings from France strike a more positive tone to that debate. "In Britain, the working week in meant to be limited to 48 hours but sixty percent of those who worked longer than this before it came into force still do. If there are fewer hours to get the job done, a higher degree of thought discipline on the part of both managers and workers is needed; the net result is that effort is then focussed on the real priorities for the business." The DTI has been critical of Britain's culture of 'presenteeism'. A recent DTI report found that one in six employees habitually work more than 60 hours a week, with only a third getting paid for the extra hours. Another study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that 75 percent of those who work longer than 48 hours per week admit to making mistakes as a result. Under the government's plan, around 770,000 extra workers, including junior doctors and some transport staff have to be brought within the Working Time Directive's rules by August 2003. Proudfoot Consulting's report is entitled 'Untapped Potential - the barriers to optimum corporate productivity' and comprises 1,357 analyses of companies in nine countries, plus an opinion poll of 2,700 chief executive officers. For more information, visit Media contacts: Andy Turner, Six Sigma PR Ltd: Tel: +44 (0)20 8946 6239 Mob: +44 (0)77 1188 7234 email: Ruth Lanham, Proudfoot Consulting: Tel: +44 (0)20 7832 3600 Mob: +44 (0)79 4058 6123 email: About Proudfoot Consulting: Proudfoot Consulting is a specialist firm of consultants that implements change to achieve measurable and sustainable performance improvements at no net annualised cost to its clients. The firm was established in Chicago in 1946 by Alexander Proudfoot and is now part of the Management Consulting Group Plc, a group of consulting firms operating globally. For more information, visit ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker The following files are available for download: