The reduced working week and long weekends are closer to becoming a reality thanks to a project promoted by the political formation Mas País-Equo in agreement with the Government. The four-day workday will see the light in those companies that request it framed within the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
What is a classic demand on the part of the people who work, the reduction of the hours that are dedicated to the company will materialize through a pilot project to experience the four working day week (32 hours) without loss of salary.
On a voluntary basis, companies that want to start this reduced working week will be able to access a Aid fund endowed with fifty million euros from EU funds intended to mitigate the effects of the COVID crisis.
The purpose of the project is to move towards a more environmentally friendly and sustainable society thanks to the foreseeable reduction of environmental impact which would mean the lowest CO2 emissions that would be saved by reducing travel. But the plan also aims to increase the level of job satisfaction and health and give it a important support for conciliation.
The pilot program pretends to be an essay where the results obtained would provide rationale to extend it to the rest of the companies. It will be entirely voluntary and an agreement will be sought in the negotiation between employers and unions.
Spread the benefits of improved productivity
The productivity is the cornerstone when it comes to working hours. The fear of a decrease in this if working time is reduced is one of the reasons for the detractors of the shortened work week. However, a greater number of hours in the position does not imply a higher performance, as is already known. In fact, Spain suffers from an excess of what is known as presenteeism, as can be seen whether they compare the hours worked within the territory compared to the most productive country from our environment, Germany.
The role of technology is essential to increase productivity. Thanks to the incorporation of digitization times are shortened and processes are more efficient. But there are also significant advances through the implementation of methodologies read what introduce excellence in production or the provision of services.
Another benefit that advocates of the four-day workday argue is the decrease in absenteeism. Extending the rest time or incorporating a day to be able to take steps would reduce the causes of absenteeism related to procedures.
One of the defenders of this modality in the use of working time is the 4suma platform. A collaboration space between companies and workers that advocates the implementation of this short week and its opportunity for the times we live in, in relation to proposing a solution to the saturation of services such as transportation. Provides examples to show the way forward.
Barriers to the short work week: hospitality and services
The voices that question the benefits of reducing days within the working week argue that companies in the service sector (more than 42% of the productive fabric and 90% of self-employed workers), especially hotels and tourism, could not adopt this type of conference because they are due to very specific schedules. The provision of certain services cannot be condensed. A change in the number of weekly days would mean higher labor costs since more staff would have to be hired. On the other hand, they believe that the context is not appropriate either due to the high unemployment rate (16%), which would not encourage hiring.
At this point is where the supports would be necessary to modernize and make the provision of these services more profitable. Turnover is very high in this sector, which entails great expenses in managing absenteeism, especially in substitutions. Introduce improvements in working conditions by extending rest times it would also translate into a reduction in the time invested in staff management.
Companies that already enjoy a four-day work week
As for success stories, examples are multiplying in technology companies. There are quite a few who have already incorporated four-day weeks with very satisfactory results.
Throughout the planet there are already many successful experiences in reducing the working week. From the pioneering 35-hour week in France to experiments in Sweden, New Zealand.
The idea is that the benefits in improving productivity are also shared with the workforce, that this means improvements in their lives. Historically, the reduction of the working day has gone hand in hand with an increase in productivity. With a little institutional help to take the first steps, the costs that families assume in terms of work-life balance, especially women, will be distributed among all the actors who participate in the employment universe. Both the levels of job satisfaction and the general public would be extended to larger sections of the population.
We have a paradigmatic example in the Jaen technology company DELSOL. One year after the introduction of the four-day workday, at the beginning of 2020, it presents positive data with the result of staff expansion and increased productivity.