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Meet the Guru - Ron Healey, Founder of the 30/40 Workweek

To be sure, the trend in America is to work longer and longer hours. But Ron Healey, the Founder and CEO of 30/40, has convinced a growing list of skeptical CEOs that less is more. He's swayed a number of companies to switch to six-hour shifts and still pay workers for a full eight-hour day. Healey says the added expense of hiring more workers pays off because they're more productive, happier and -- most importantly -- loyal to the company.

Q
: When I first heard this, I thought, are you crazy? I only work 30 hours and get paid for 40?

You know, it, it is crazy. People think it’s crazy. But people are not understanding what’s going on today in the work place. In 30/40, you work 30 hours instead of 40. You work six-hour shifts and you’re paid for eight. This gives people more focus. They come to work with more energy. They’re more willing to be responsible for clearing up their own mistakes and accountable for results. That’s what happens.

The reason it works is because work is not the end in itself. So when people get off, they have the rest of the day. They have 9 to 12 hours a day to do whatever they want to. And you know, some people may self-destruct, but most people do not.

So therefore, because they are able to do more of what they want to do, they’re much more willing and able to produce while they’re there at work, in a focused manner. That's really what 30/40 does. It takes people from being lethargic and uncooperative to being very cooperative and working together as teams.

Q: You’re paying people for two hours they don’t work. How is that good for business?

Well, it’s good for business because there’s a tremendous increase in productivity. Absenteeism is eliminated. Why is that? Well, because if you’re not there on time, then you lose your ten hours' pay. What’s going on is that people who are working six hours a day are out-producing people who work eight and twelve hours a day, bottom line. So it’s good for the company, because they’re making more money. It’s good for the people, because they get more time. And it’s good for management, because they too can participate in shorter work hours. And usually in this country, management because they’re salaried, works a lot more hours than they would like to.

Q: Do you enjoy your work?

I enjoy my work, because I derive a great deal of satisfaction in helping companies be more efficient. I just love the fact that we’re creating such happy people. I tell people that I’m in the face-lift business. From people who are sad faced to people who are happy. And people get happy when they work six hours.

Q: Are you a crusader for companies?

Yeah, I am a crusader. There’s a passion about what I’m doing here. I really think that the possibility exists that we can change the way Americans live and help assist the way the world works. I’m a crusader because I think we need to stir awareness, that the corporate playing field has changed and that it’s moving away from technology and it’s moving toward the ability to attract and retain competent, highly skilled people.

Q: Why shouldn’t work be the center of life? What’s wrong with that?

We've gotten into the gospel of consumption. And all the time saving devices in the fifties and sixties, and technology today, are supposed to give us more time off, when in fact they make our life more difficult. You can read about all the time people having 250 voice-mails and e-mails and pagers and all that stuff. It makes our life more difficult.

For years we’ve had time saving devices and other mechanisms that were created to make our life easier. Experts were saying that by the year 1985, the average American was only going to be working 22 hours a week, and that by the year 2000, they were only going to be working 14 hours a week.

Well, hurrah for technology. It’s a fancy word for time saving devices, which frankly are not saving us time. They’re creating more work. What we all know is that 18 to 23% of the American people would gladly give up a day’s pay in order to have more time off.

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