We’ve already covered new research suggesting that the standard 40-hour work week is not good for your health, and no-one seems to know this better than staff at the Australian Tax Office (ATO). In a twist, the ATO’s higher management actually listened to their employee’s work hour requests, when a proposed extension to their work hours was dumped.
Yesterday, it was reported that the ATO suggested a later finish time of 5pm, instead of their usual 4.51pm clock-off. This move was said to be initiated in order to meet the common working hours of the wider community, meaning that an extra 35 minutes would be added to their work week.
Reports suggest that this proposal would also increase productivity by an extra two per cent, a key part of the decision to increase the hours. However, with staff in an uproar of disapproval the proposal has now been shelved. In a statement made to SmartCompany, the ATO said that the negotiations “maintained conditions that our employees told us mattered most to them.”
And while, admittedly, nine minutes is not too life-altering, the principle of a company valuing the opinion of their employees is worth giving credit. And though we will be looking at their 4.51pm knock-off with a slight degree of envy, it seems that the incident has sparked a larger conversation around whether employee productivity can be measured on a minute-to-minute basis, and how the ATO’s approach of valuing staff is the way forward.