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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Four-day work week. Is it worth introducing four days of work a week and a longer weekend?

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The labor market is changing dynamically, and the possibility of spending four days instead of five is being considered in other countries. Experiences and pilots carried out in Great Britain and Belgium show that it can also work well. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

At NCDC since February, employees work for the same salary only four days a week. The president of the company, Pawel Finkelman, admits that the employees are satisfied that they start the three-day weekend already on Thursday after work. Work efficiency increased after six months. – When we come back for the next week, we are more energetic – emphasizes Pawel Finkelman. More and more companies in Poland are wondering about it. – Due to the pandemic, people started to ask themselves whether work is the most important thing for them in life – says Iwo Szapar, author of the book “Work remotely, live normally”.

A longer weekend can pay off economically

According to the Polish Labor Market Barometer, Poles indicate an extensive medical care package as the most attractive employee benefit. The four-day working week is in second place. Later, other additional days off or shortening the work by one hour a day.

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– We don’t smile to come for five days and we would like to work four days, preferably on the fifth day off or working from home. Great BritainAustralia, New ZealandSpain has done the tests and the efficiency is not decreasing – emphasizes the labor market expert Krzysztof Inglot.

Experts praise the four-day working weekShutterstock

In Poland, overtime work turns out to be the biggest challenge when planning such changes. – The biggest risk is that the company works 32 hours a week on paper, and managers unofficially expected that certain tasks would be done after hours – says Piotr Kuron, LHH Chief Operating Officer. However, the pandemic changes the face of offices. 59 percent of surveyed employers indicated that they had implemented or will implement a hybrid work model. – Companies must consciously invest time and money for these changes to happen, and not copy and paste what was in the office with one click – emphasizes Iwo Szapar.

However, a longer weekend may pay off economically. – We are stimulating a completely new part of the economy, i.e. one that is based on our free time, i.e. more expenditure on services and tourism – explains Andrzej Kubisiak, deputy director of the Polish Economic Institute.

Fears of the negative effects of the four-day working week

In Spain for the time being, the government is subsidizing this experiment so that the shortening of work does not reduce the salary. – I expect that I will have the opportunity to go to the cinema, to the store, to the office and I do not assume in the first instance that the people who work there also have shorter working hours. The costs of cinema work must increase – admits Piotr Kuron.

In many places, such as in the IT sector, such changes have already taken place. In the medical sector, on the other hand, we are still struggling with the chronic shortage of workers. – What would lead to very high social tensions, in any country in the world, would be if regulations were adopted stating that white collars could work for four days, and not the rest of the sectors – warns Andrzej Kubisiak.

Compared to Europe, Poles work a lot – we are eighth in terms of the number of hours a week. Finns, Danes and the Dutch spend much less time at work.

– This is an issue that should be spread not over years but over decades. Let us remember how Poland moved away from working Saturdays from a six-day working week to a five-day working week, it was a process that took almost 20 years and was carried out very gradually – Andrzej Kubisiak reserves.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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