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When the four-day week satisfies boss and employees

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This Thursday in April at 7:30 p.m., William will be away for the weekend. Logistics manager of a computer hardware store in Paris, he planned to spend the next day with his children: Go pick them up at school, accompany them on school outings… What happiness! » However, he did not take a day off or off: this Friday is his “off” day. Since January 25, 2021, he and his colleagues have only worked four days a week. All of the 1,000 employees of the Lyon-based company LDLC, which specializes in the distribution of computer equipment, have switched to a 32-hour week, with no drop in pay.

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A year ago, when this decision was announced, Damien, technical referent of the Parisian workshop, did not believe it. “We received an email, we thought it was a joke”, recalls the employee, who joined the company just over five years ago. He was immediately seduced by the new organization. The opportunity for him to grant more time “to what (him) really likes, writing and photography », or to go and see his mother more often in Perpignan. Rather on the reserve at the time of the announcement, William quickly changed his mind: “It’s just a bonus!” »

Less work but more productivity

With an extra free day, and even if the four working days are longer, employees say they are more motivated by the idea of ​​coming to work. “Before, at the end of the week, we all dragged our feet a bit. With an extra day of rest, we have a lot more energy., notes Damien. Overall, workers say they are more invested despite more intense days than before. With longer working days, you actually have more time to do things, so you do them better,” remarks William.

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More energy, more efficiency and more productivity… This was the objective set by Laurent de la Clergerie, president of the group, when he set up the four-day week. Inspired by a similar experience in Japan in a Microsoft company, he made the decision in December 2019 to apply it to the headquarters offices in Lyon. The entry into force is however postponed to 2021, Covid obliges. At first, he put the cost of the measure at one million euros.

No additional cost

Conclusion one year later: no additional cost. “I hadn’t anticipated that people would work more 32 hours out of four days than 35 hours out of five! », emphasizes the director, who observes a significant productivity gain. Thanks to an extra day of rest, employees have time to manage their personal obligations and take more advantage of their weekend to rest. When they arrive at work, they no longer have these worries in mind: there is no longer this porosity between work and home. So they are more efficient. We expected to improve their life at work; we improved their quality of life, quite simply,” he concludes.

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In 2021, the news had been very well received by the unions. A year later, the opinion remains unchanged. It’s profit on all counts, advances Myriam Letondot, CGT union representative at LDLC. In addition to well-being, employees save money: no need to pay a nanny to look after the children on Wednesdays, for example. And with the price of gasoline rising, it’s one less trip per week. »

New work organization

Managers were initially a bit more skeptical. “How do you fit 35 hours into 32? It seemed difficult…” explains Jean-Martin Bomboh, director of the Parisian boutique. Finally, accompanied by management, the new organization was quickly put in place and “everyone got used to it very quickly”.

For the sake of fairness, Jean-Martin Bomboh has set up a rotation system. The days not worked are not fixed, which allows everyone to benefit from a three-day weekend approximately every three weeks. This system encourages employees to show versatility and diversifies their tasks. It broke a routine and created more cohesionobserves the manager. As colleagues sometimes have to be replaced, they got to know the other positions better. » For William, varying his activities after fifteen years in the company is “really gratifying”. “It opens new doors. he raises without considering going elsewhere, refusing to lose this “invaluable advantage”.

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