Employees and quality of life
Sir, – Breda O’Brien alludes to the philosophy of employers improving the quality of life of their employees to increase productivity (“Four-day week is an idea whose time in Ireland may have finally come”, Opinion & Analysis, June 27th).
This is not a new idea and was in vogue in the 19th century. Edward Cecil Guinness, in 1870, appointed a social worker, then known as a “lady visitor”, to look after the widows and children of employees as well as those retired.
Shortly after that he appointed two doctors to give medical care to the employees and their families. Indeed this service continues to the present day. Later in the 19th century, in Birmingham, the Cadbury Brothers moved their production from the inner-city slums to a rural site which was served by the railway, and by the river Bourne where, not only did they build their new factory, but they also built a new town with modern houses and all social facilities called Bournville for their employees.
This initiative was also repeated by the Lever family by creating Port Sunlight close to the Mersey.
It is good to see modern companies realising that enhancing the quality of life of employees brings dividends. – Yours, etc,