July 1, 2022

The 4-day week adopted by some companies

Well-being of employees, recruitment argument, increase in productivity… Some companies have been tempted by the 4-day week, which has many advantages, both on a human, economic and ecological level.

The 4-day week adopted by some companies / iStock-Bychykhin_Olexandr

35 hour law

In France, the number of hours worked per week fell from 39 hours to 35 hours in 2002. A measure which was intended to share the work and therefore create employment. But also to provide more free time to employees, to improve their condition of family life, for example, or health. In reality, and particularly among executives, many employees work much more than 35 hours per week. According to INSEE, 9% of executives work well 35 hours, while 40% of executives work more than 40 hours per week. A rhythm of life that has led to numerous burnouts, which concern 2.5 million employees. But for some business leaders, the well-being of their employees comes first. They are therefore ready to offer them 32-hour weeks, without lowering their wages.

Several methods for the 4-day week

To apply the 4 working days per week, companies have several options. They can offer their employees to work 32 hours, spread over 4 days. This represents 8 hours of daily work. This approach does not fall within the framework of part-time work. Employees keep the same salary as for a classic 35-hour contract. Companies donate the 3 additional hours of work to their employees. Otherwise, companies have the option of remaining on a classic 35-hour contract. By applying the 4-day week, this amounts to 8h45 of daily work. The day off is freely chosen by the employees, who generally lean towards Friday. But Wednesday can also be considered, especially for those who have children.

The advantages for the employee and the company

If the 4-day week has already attracted many companies, it is because they see it as a win-win strategy. For employees, the benefits are multiple: increased well-being, with more free time, more flexibility to look after children, fewer musculoskeletal disorders, or even fewer accidents during home-work journeys. This day off allows you to make appointments, with doctors for example, which are difficult to make in normal times. For the company, the 4-day week also has advantages. Some who have tried have found better employee productivity. For example, Microsoft Japan recorded a 40% increase in productivity, which can be explained by a better work/life balance for employees. And for companies concerned about their carbon footprint, the 4-day week makes it possible in particular to reduce the ecological impact by reducing employee travel. Finally, this measure can be a real argument for hiring, since 21% of employees would like to reduce their week against longer working days, according to the Workforce View 2020 study, by RH ADP.