1675528956 If you try you wont change Employees and employers are

If you try, you won’t change: Employees (and employers) are happy about the four-day shift

If you try you wont change Employees and employers are

It is Friday. A message on the Desigual head office answering machine indicates that office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30am to 5:45pm. And they stick to it. It’s one of the companies that voted in 2021 to approve the four-day shift with an option to telecommute for a day in exchange for a 6.5% pay cut. Digital marketing agency Good Rebels has also been enjoying this type of day in its Spain, UK and Mexico offices since summer 2021. Originally, it was a way to keep the 135 employees motivated and rested. After a year, they observed something else: they measured competitiveness, which is revenue per employee, and found that productivity had increased by 7% over the last 12 months.

“We included the data with caution because we were coming out of difficult months due to the pandemic and had taken steps to improve workflows. But we have seen in the following months that the reduction in working hours has not affected productivity, on the contrary that we continue the same growth while having motivated employees,” says Fernando Polo, General Manager of Good Rebels. He points out that the formula they use follows that followed by companies in the UK, “a much more advanced country in this type of conference”, which they call 100-80-100: 100% of salary are calculated, the working time is kept at 80% and 100% productivity.

There is no business that goes back after one try. The reflection comes from Íñigo Errejón, defender of the four-day shift, 32 hours of work, without a pay cut. “It increases productivity, allows for gains in quality and durability, has a positive impact on the environment by reducing travel, distributing work and promoting consumption in short-distance shops thanks to the time available.” It is the work revolution of the 21st century. “A century ago, Spain fought for the right to an eight-hour day, and now we must push forward in the fight for time. It’s the fight of the future, buy time, work less, use technology to do the same thing with less effort. It was our turn to open the debate and take public action in this regard,” explains the Más País MP.

Errejón refers to the aid, with a total budget of 10 million euros, approved in December by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are piloting projects to reduce the working day four days a week with a minimum period of 24 months. “It is a line of support for companies and its final implementation will depend on the strength of the organization of the company’s workers,” he says, acknowledging that initial reluctance is normal. “The achievement of the eight-hour day was not agreed in a seminar. It is very difficult to achieve social progress and it is necessary to overcome the culture of presentism, which is not the culture of this century. It’s not about putting in more hours, it’s about doing it better,” he continues.

Alejandro Peral agrees with the idea of ​​rethinking the work system set at 100 years. Based in The Gambia for the past two and a half years, Peral is Director of Digital Trends and Policies at Harmon Corporate Affairs, a consultancy that has adopted a manifesto addressing work flexibility and the issue of short-time work. . “The conditions and challenges of the labor market need to be analysed, with a focus on salary or training conditions, but also [reflexionar] if our working hours make sense. The 40 hours spread over five days has not been questioned for years and it is necessary to reconsider this option,” he explains. It is something that is in the public debate and is linked to the idea of ​​progress. Working less and producing more is related to social justice issues. This means, Peral clarifies, that the ideal for society is to work less, produce what is necessary without tending to overproduce, and distribute everything more equitably. “So there will be people with more free time and less work input, leading to a reorganization of free time and leisure and a redistribution of wealth.”

In many cases, the coronavirus crisis was the trigger to examine these types of measures. At Simeom Capital, on the other hand, they were “interested in working on additional lines to improve working conditions” even before the Covid, according to Director Francisco Artis. Nevertheless, it was not until April 2021 that the company experimented with a four-day week, without a pay cut and with a total of nine hours a day. “The goal was to see if employees were happier and if this was having a positive impact on the company’s productivity,” says Artis. Three months after testing the new tag in two of their departments, they knew this was the case, so the measure continues to be extended to the rest of the areas. Now 187 employees (45% of the workforce) enjoy it. “It’s difficult to make one coffee for everyone, but once it’s proven that it works and is good, we’ll take another leap into another unit,” he explains.

free on fridays

The formula has also worked at venture capital firm Byld, where employees have not worked Fridays for a year. “Customer satisfaction has not changed negatively, nor have there been any further delays in delivery,” warns the company’s CEO, Adrián Heredia. What has influenced it, on the other hand, is making its company more attractive to the team: “We’re not doing it from the approach of how to become more productive because we already were. Rather, it’s about making us happier and enjoying the road. Of course you need a good salary, but there are many more factors that make a person spend two-thirds of their life working,” he warns.

In addition, there is a discussion as to whether this reduction in working hours should be accompanied by a reduction in wages. This is how Telefónica proceeded with the plan launched in June 2022, which was rejected by the majority of the workforce because it included a pay cut. “The most important thing is to align the interests of the whole world, to identify the things that have been unproductive in order to improve people’s jobs and quality of life. It’s a way of retaining employees, we have less turnover.” The speaker is María Álvarez, co-owner of the Ephimera transformer factory and La Francachela restaurants, who adopted the measure for the 70 employees, most of them women, once they left imprisonment came. “We started implementation when schools were closed due to the pandemic, and that moment helped us modernize businesses.” It was an emergency measure that impacted productivity. “Besides, four days of work changes your life.” Forever.

Five Day Program

The most important economic dates of the day, with the keys and context to understand their scope.


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