Tallboy has had the pleasure of working in Switzerland in the last few weeks with visits to both Basle and Geneva. And what’s been eye-opening about our time away is the way everything runs on time.
Basle, in particular, is a small city and it’s easy to get around. It’s even more straightforward because the bus and tram timetables are a work of fact, rather than fiction. If the bus is due at 7:55am – it will arrive exactly then. The consequence of that time-keeping means everything else can start on time and end on time. It’s efficient.
The UK is very different from Switzerland and obviously there are very different challenges in making the public and road networks run well. However, being efficient with time has major cost implications both for business and in personal life. Back in Basle, because things start and end on time, then work-life balance is easier to control. That makes an employee happier, and in the long-run could save both the company they work for and the state money because there’s less stress related illness.
US company Pivotal Software starts work every morning at 09.06am with a 10 minute stand up meeting. That time was picked to allow everyone to have breakfast (provided by the company and designed to stop the 11am munchies); to appeal to the creative people about not being so precise at 9.00am and also to be fun.
Once that meeting is over, then there are no other meetings scheduled and everyone – no exceptions – has to leave the office at 6pm. The company’s CEO Rob Mee says the reasoning behind the decision is: “Programmers don’t programme well if they are too tired, so we don’t want them working late into the night.”
Sweden is a fan of a six-hour working day, with early studies of the social experiment showing companies who adopt this are more productive. The Swedish subsidiary of Toyota switched to shorter hours a decade ago, with an increase in profit. And while not every Swedish company has adopted a more concise day, the results so far do indicate the cultural shift of getting the work-life balance more in proportion does replicate the Toyota model – with a direct impact on profits going north.
But back to the buses in Basle. They’re able to run on time because the culture is efficient – the bus is ready for the diver to take out, because the mechanics have done their job; the paperwork is completed etc. While riding the bus in Basle, Tallboy realised we’re not so different from them. We shoot our videos not just with the audience in mind – but also the edit. Before we arrive on location, we know what shots we need, so we are efficient with what we shoot – saving valuable time.
We agree what messages the client needs to reach the audience before we go on location, so our interviews are short. Again, more time saved in the edit as we don’t need to go through hours of interviews. And, as the saying goes, time is money. It’s also work-life balance both for the client and for Tallboy.
The thing most people want is not money, it’s time. Tallboy is like Basle’s buses – we work hard to give the gift of time.