How would the four-day work week be applied in our country?

By Paul Andres Alvarez / palvarez@lanueva.com

The movement began in Europe, it is already spreading to the rest of the world and little by little it is beginning to gain ground in our country as well.

What is it about? of the 4-day work week. This change, as is known, goes hand in hand with other modifications that have occurred recently in the workplace, such as the rise of the online modality, which was born from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the debate that is already taking place, there are many who believe that it is possible to reduce the number of working days and still reach the objectives of each company. That is why many firms are beginning to rethink their work and hiring strategies, finding flexibility as the way to motivate their employees.

Regarding the positive results that would be obtained, it can be pointed out what happened, for example, in the most developed countries of Europe and Asia in which the test was carried out, such as Germany, France, Great Britain, Holland, Japan, Norway, Iceland Belgium, New Zealand and Sweden.

What was verified in those places was that productivity increased by 40% compared to the same month of the previous year, a percentage that was measured according to the sales made by the workers, and 90% of the employees said they were happy with the reduced working day.

In addition, electricity consumption expenses decreased by 25.1% and paper printing was 58% lower, compared to the previous year.

And although, as was pointed out, it is a phenomenon that at the moment occurs mainly in Europe, there are already Argentine companies -and several more in other Latin American countries- that have adopted this work modality of 4 days a week and 3 days off. .

In addition, according to Adecco Argentina, some companies plan to implement it on a trial basis for a few months, while others also plan to do so but for later.

As for the way it would be carried out, some firms plan to apply the same day off for everyone. On the other hand, others plan to rotate within the team.

“Although there are some companies that are already trying, thinking of a 4-day-a-week system in our country is still a long way off,” said Alexandra Manera, director of Human Resources for Adecco Argentina and Uruguay.

However, he warned that “the pandemic generated important changes, and to the extent that certain jobs begin to be thought of by objectives and not by hours, it may generate some new contractual options.”

According to this study, many employers are concerned about how to keep track of productivity, respecting the personal life of employees and how to coordinate the need to work a certain number of hours with the also necessary digital disconnection.

The debate is, they explain from Adecco, on how to balance the improvement of the well-being of employees, reducing their working hours, but at the same time maintaining the productivity-salary ratio efficiently for companies.

Two examples in our country

The Japanese multinational Ricoh was one of the first to start testing the four-day week in Argentina since July. It has 200 employees in the country and decided that the workers have the same salary as before the pilot test began, which will last for two months. Fourteen subsidiaries in the region joined this initiative for the same period. In this case, the day off will be rotating: for some it will be Friday and for others it will be Monday.

Also the Cordoba-based company Global Think Technology, a technology company dedicated to providing products and services for comprehensive digital solutions, agreed with its employees that they work four days and rest three.

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