The so-called ‘Happy Men’ (happymen.fr) say a system which discriminates against women also has drawbacks for men and equality at work would benefit everyone and boost performance. Founder Antoine de Gabrielli said: “Men think they have to be at their desks until late to show they are committed.
“They feel bad about asking for a Wednesday afternoon off to look after children or for taking advantage of paternity rights to look after a sick child.
“Having more women managers would help.
“This is not a rant about feminism but a way to improve both individual lives and business efficiency. We can all benefit from a broader range of talents from both sexes.”
Mr de Gabrielli said 80% of management positions are filled by men and he wants to win these bosses to his cause as they are the ones who are in a position to make a change.
Although 350 men have joined his campaign, he says that is less than 0.1% of male executives. “My aim is to attract 30% and we could make a difference. But we are growing and we should have another three groups by the end of the year.”
Jonathan Serra, 32, who works for the energy firm Engie in Paris, says including more women would make his company more efficient and allow men to enjoy family lives. “We need time at home – it improves work performance. It is important for new managers to show it’s possible to combine family and work. It is up to our generation to change things,” he added.
Mr de Gabrielli said: “It will take between 10 and 15 years to make a difference, but I am optimistic we will get there.”
French work less – but are more efficient
French workers are among the most productive in Europe, according to new figures from Eurostat, the official statistics office of the European Union.
The findings rate French productivity as the fifth best in the EU; 28% above the bloc average. In comparison, the UK was just below average. (Productivity is calculated by dividing GDP for a given year by the number of hours worked in that year).
Full-time French employees worked 1,646 hours in 2015 – 199 fewer than Germans and 228 less than Britons.
The UK Office of National Statistics said in 2013 French workers were 27%-31% more efficient than their British counterparts; prompting The Economist to suggest UK workers could take Fridays off if they worked as hard.
Reasons suggested for French productivity include workers being refreshed from longer time off, more investment in technology and the fact that more-expensive labour means firms are better organised to maximise resources. A Business Insider study said: “Winning is not about working hard. It’s about working smart... and less. As the French know well.”