March 17th, 2023
Ahead with a
The 4-day week
Everyone is talking about #NewWork, work-life balance and the 4-day week. Many employees would like a 4-day week, but many companies are not yet ready to take this step.
Let's talk facts:
Of course, you will find all sources at the end of the article.
The study on the four-day week in England was the largest worldwide to so far. 61 companies with a total of around 2,900 employees took part. A team of researchers (from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford) evaluated whether productivity increased, how work changed, and how the workforce fared. The experiment involved a wide range of sectors (from industry to advertising agencies to fish-and-chips stores).
The results of the study speak for themselves: 56 of the 61 companies kept the 4-day week after the experiment. Employees are more rested and motivated, and absenteeism has decreased. 71% of the participants state that they suffer less from burnout. Almost 40% are less stressed than at the start of the study, sick days are down by 65% and staff turnover has fallen by 57%. The output was achieved despite fewer working hours in each month. Not only that, but company revenues also increased by approximately 1.4%.
Belgium is even going so far as to make the four-day week possible for everyone by law. Spain is launching its first pilot projects and Germany is also starting its first studies.
In its working time report, the BauA (Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) talks about health complaints during long working weeks. Among other things, they report exhaustion, sleep disorders and MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders). This can be counteracted with a 4-day work week plan. (By the way, you can find out more about ergonomics and recommendations from BauA and the German Social Accident Insurance on our ergonomics page).
Professor John Ashton (former president of the UK Faculty of Public Health) also speaks out clearly in favor of the 4-day week in an interview with the Guardian. He, too, believes that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and emphasizes, among other things, the positive effect of stress reduction on blood pressure.
"Many employees are striving for flexibility and autonomy - employers have to adapt to keep them" says Daniel Terzenbach, board member of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) to the Tagesschau. A survey conducted by Statista in 2023 showed that 77% of Arbeitnehmer:innen would like to see a 4-day week. For 63% of those surveyed, however, the decisive factor is that wages remain constant.
Advantages and disadvantages of the four-day week
The advantages at a glance:
For the employees:
- Health benefits: stress level decreases, burnout risk decreases, sleep quality increases, etc.
- Work-life balance: more spare time, time for family and personal development
- Equality: Better distribution of tasks in the household and relief for single parents
- Time for training and further education
- Lower travel costs
- Long weekends and better vacation opportunities (for short trips)
- Possibility for important appointments also during the week
For the company:
- Cost savings: processes are optimized and office costs/electricity are saved
- Company health: less absenteeism of employees and more plannable manpower
- Employee recruitment/ market placement: Benefit for employees simplifies the search for new qualified employees
- Better opportunities in the current shortage of skilled workers
- Contribution to environmental protection: saving electricity and avoiding business trips saves electricity and Co2
- Increase in production due to motivated employees
- Improved mood and climate in the company
- Time for training and further education
- Less downtime due to appointments of the workers (e.g. dentist, craftsmen etc.)
It quickly became clear to us that the 4-day week is not a risk, but rather an opportunity. For our employees, but also for our company. But what were the hurdles we had to overcome?
- Depending on the model, 40 hours must be completed in 4 days. This makes for longer working days (10 hours each) and thus often also for concentration problems.
- Parents with children in day care can have problems with longer working days.
- In some models, more work has to be done in less time, which can lead to stress depending on workload and staffing/prevailing capacities
- Fewer vacation days depending on model
- Planning difficulties (e.g. in the catering trade)
Nobody has to be afraid of too long days or lower salaries. And when it comes to vacation, we continue to accommodate our employees. With our adapted 4-day week model, we have been able to overcome the disadvantages while making the many advantages possible for our employees.
The main reason why we dare to offer the 4-day week: our employees.
Whether it's in our catalogs, on social media or on our website, we love to showcase our high-quality products and services. But let's not lose sight of the most important thing: what and who is actually behind the products. And that brings us to what we consider to be a company's most valuable asset: its employees.
It is clear to us that motivation is the best motivation for good work. And happy employees do the best work. That's why we always listen to our employees' wishes and ideas. It's not without reason that we regularly conduct anonymous employee surveys to see how our employees are doing, what's going well, what's going badly, and where can we continue to grow and improve?
Last year, the topic of the 4-day week came up again and again. The advantages of this model speak for themselves. And our research convinced us. After much deliberation, planning and a good dose of pioneering spirit, we decided to fulfill our employees' heart's desire. So we developed a model that eliminates the disadvantages and meets the wishes of our staff. Subsequently, a company vote was held and the clear majority was in favor.
Therefore we announce the 4-day week in the house Fezer starting from 01.07.2023.
This is our bonus of trust and thanks to our employees, who have made our company proud for 90 years. Who have led us through the Corona crisis and stand up for us every day.
Join us on our journey
You can accompany us on this journey on our social media platforms. On LinkedIn, we will document the entrepreneurial perspective, report on obstacles, problems and also advantages and successes, while on Instagram we will provide more personal insights and report, among other things, on how our employees feel about the new working model and how they are using their newfound freedom.
We are aware that this will not be an easy road and that we will certainly encounter one or two stumbling blocks. Fortunately, we have a vacuum lifter or two to lift those stones out of the way.
We are sure that this is an important and in the long run worthwhile way, which we gladly go together with our colleagues.
Stay with us. Come and visit us. Get to know us.