Downshifting benefits workers as well as bosses: Letter

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his article "Are you ready to downshift?" (3 May), Stephen Bevan misses the opportunity to give a clear, timely and important message to corporate leaders and concerned employees.

He suggests that downshifting may be regarded sceptically as being driven by business imperatives rather than the desires of the workforce.

In my professional capacity, as an expert in corporate change, I hear an increasing demand, particularly in the banking sector, for more reasonable working hours and an end of needing to stay late, often without justification, for fear of falling victim to "the first one seen to leave will be the first one asked to leave".

Employers have focused for too long simply on getting more out of their people, rather than more out of the "man hours" they are paying for. Downshifting is an option worth serious consideration, for at present many employers do not feel valued, their self-esteem is damaged and inevitably their performance has suffered.

The article rightly stresses the importance of developing self-esteem and psychological well-being, along with a sense of trust and security.

I firmly believe that business needs, and workforce preferences, can both be well served by using downshifting to create a flexible and committed workforce.

Jeremy Glyn

The Self-Esteem Network,

London, SW6