Why is a week a week
interviewFour-day week: less absenteeism, more commitment
Work only four days a week - with full salary. This model is now to be tested extensively in Spain. Around 6,000 employees from 200 companies are to take part and, from autumn, test what it means to work one day less per week. They continue to receive their full salary. The Spanish Left Party, Más País, campaigned for this idea. The idea: By everyone working one day less, companies can fill additional jobs. The companies are financially supported by the state for the model project.
The Spanish company Software Delsol introduced the four-day week last year - according to its own information, it was the first Spanish company. Capital spoke to Deputy Managing Director Pilar Meseguer about the four-day week in their company:
Capital: A nationwide experiment is to be carried out in Spain: Starting in autumn, around 6,000 employees from 200 companies are to test a four-day week. The four-day week is already a reality in your company. Why did you introduce the four-day week at Software Delsol?
PILAR MESEGUER: Software Delsol has always placed the team at the center of all activities. In accordance with our political philosophy, our employees are our most important asset. We believe that by taking care of our people we can achieve higher productivity and better quality in the products and services we offer, and build a more competitive company. For many years we have been working on implementing measures to reconcile work and family life, such as extending paid vacation, reducing working hours or extending rest days. The introduction of the four-day week was a further step towards greater compatibility without us having to submit any application beforehand.
How did your employees react when you informed them that they would only work four days a week in the future?
The first reaction was astonishment and great anticipation. As soon as the CEO made it clear that this change would not result in a loss of pay, the reaction was consistently positive.
What were the biggest challenges when introducing the four-day week?
The biggest challenge was that we didn't have a benchmark. No company had done this before and we had no prior experience. Later we also encountered some small administrative obstacles from the public administrations.
What has changed in your company since you only worked four days a week? How has your daily work changed since then?
At the beginning there was a time to get used to, because in many departments the work had to be done in less time, but after a few weeks the team was 100 percent adjusted and was looking forward to one more day off per week.
In your experience, what are the greatest advantages of a four-day week?
First, employees start the week with a different perspective, which means greater emotional balance. They also have more free time. This improves the family, social and private life of the employees. Another big advantage of this measure is the stronger loyalty of the employees to the company. There are also many benefits for the company itself, such as improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased engagement, lower employee turnover, and it becomes easier to attract new talent.
How is the feedback from the employees? What are you doing in your new free time?
A few months after the introduction of the new work rhythm, we carried out an employee survey. The new work week received a rating of 4.9 out of 5 points. The colleagues use their day off for simple things like taking their children to school or picking them up, going to the market, doing the weekly shopping, doing sports or pursuing any hobby. They are small actions that they have incorporated into their daily routine rather than major changes.
What does the new schedule mean economically for the company?
For Software Delsol, this measure meant an additional investment of around 420,000 euros for the hiring of employees, training courses and equipment.
What was the biggest surprise for you after the introduction of the four-day week? Were there any effects that you did not expect?
The media coverage was and is a surprise for us. We are also impressed and satisfied that many Spanish companies have contacted us to learn about our experience and learn more.
Looking back on the experiences made so far, would you dare to take the step of introducing a 4-day week again?
Definitely yes. There are many indicators that show us that it was a positive measure for the company and that it is also resonating with our customers. KPIs such as the customer satisfaction index or the recommendation rate have also increased in the company over the past year. This reinforces the idea that taking care of the people in the company has a positive effect.
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