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The concept of a 4-day week makes headway in Switzerland

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A 4-day work week on 100% pay has become a reality at some small businesses in Switzerland, reports RTS. © Marek Uliasz | Dreamstime.comAndreas Ott, the owner of a small graphic design studio in the canton of Aargau told the SonntagsZeitung that his clients reported no issues with staff taking Fridays off. Ott introduced the concept several years ago before he became a father. Since then the office has been closed on Fridays. He says the shorter week reduced revenue but not by 20%. Some Swiss unions are behind the concept. However, Gudela Grote, a professor of psychology at ETHZ university in Zurich is less convinced by 4-day weeks. She thinks what works for small companies might not work so well for large ones. If large companies were to shift from 5- to 4-day weeks it could

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A 4-day work week on 100% pay has become a reality at some small businesses in Switzerland, reports RTS.

© Marek Uliasz | Dreamstime.com

Andreas Ott, the owner of a small graphic design studio in the canton of Aargau told the SonntagsZeitung that his clients reported no issues with staff taking Fridays off. Ott introduced the concept several years ago before he became a father. Since then the office has been closed on Fridays. He says the shorter week reduced revenue but not by 20%.

Some Swiss unions are behind the concept. However, Gudela Grote, a professor of psychology at ETHZ university in Zurich is less convinced by 4-day weeks. She thinks what works for small companies might not work so well for large ones. If large companies were to shift from 5- to 4-day weeks it could increase stress and lead to significant overtime, she thinks.

There are other challenges too. A 4-day week might work in sectors when short bursts of creative output can deliver more than long hours of hard slog. It might also work where staff are spending long unproductive hours at work when fewer more productive hours would generate similar output. This could be the case in firms with a culture of unmotivated presenteeism. Although, in these cases, a change in corporate culture might yield more.

However, industries where there is little or no room for higher productivity could end up with 20% less output for the same staff cost. A truck driver for example will deliver less if they take an extra day off. And if receptionists left reception areas empty or call centre staff took a weekday off customers would notice and revenues may suffer.

A 4-day week on 80% pay would resolve the economic contradiction. 4 days of truck driving for 4 days of pay comes out at the same daily rate and level of output. The company could then hire a few more people to fill the gaps. But then how many employees would opt for this? And those that would may have already done so.

More on this:
RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

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