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Berlin, September 26, 2022
Work Smarter: How Expath Is Reshaping the German Economy With the 4-Day Week
100% pay, 80% working hours, 100% productivity — the work model at a glance
Pilot project to introduce the 4-day week starts in January 2023
Online round table and info session with Expath, 4 Day Week Global and Lasse Rheingans on Sept. 28 at 3 p.m.
When the alarm clock rings on Monday morning, many employees lack the motivation to start the day. The prospect of a 40-hour week with possible overtime is understandably uninviting. The looming pressure of a long week ahead makes the journey to the office or to the desk at home a difficult one. For many, their thoughts are already stuck on work to-dos and important meetings/dates from Sunday evening. So, it's no surprise that employees have their worst sleep from Sunday to Monday. Then, in the first meetings at the beginning of the week, many employees have fatigue written all over their faces and their motivation and energy levels have already hit rock bottom — also known as the Monday Blues. Only in the course of the day and the following week do performance levels rise. Tuesday and Wednesday are therefore the most productive days before the activity level drops again and thoughts drift to the upcoming weekend.
But does work ethic really depend on the days of the week? Or is it due to the overall work schedule and lack of recreational opportunities for employees? We, official partners of the 4 Day Week Global Foundation, know why the 4-day week is necessary for Germany and how companies and employees can benefit from it.
Stronger Together — Expath and 4 Day Week Global Launch Partnership
Tia Robinson, our co-founder and CEO noticed even before the pandemic that many colleagues wished to reduce their working hours to have more time for their families, self-care, or personal projects. In her search for a fair solution for all, Tia came across 4 Day Week Global — a foundation that provides companies with advice and support in introducing the 4-day week. The organization aims to introduce companies to the new working time model through a 6-month pilot project and to increase employee satisfaction. In the long term, this would also serve as a means to attract new talent. The ultimate goal is to create a productive working environment with more efficient structures and the motto is: 100% pay, 80% working time, 100% productivity.
The 4DW Foundation has already been able to test its concept in the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Participating companies are prepared for the change to a 4-day week by means of workshops and coaching. The focus here is on training for greater efficiency, personal responsibility, and structure. The pilot will be scientifically monitored in order to evaluate its success. Depending on the results, the model can be firmly established in the company. The success rate recorded so far though speaks for itself: In the countries where the project has already been completed, over 90% of the companies have retained the 4-day week. We will implement the pilot project at our company from January 2023, reducing the weekly working hours of all employees by 20%. In this way, employees gain capacity for personal projects and time for friends and family in addition to their job. The company, in turn, will benefit from a motivated and productive workforce that enjoys coming to work. As an official partner of 4 Day Week Global, we will promote the model in Germany.
Launch Event for Interested Parties
In order to find as many supporters as possible, all interested companies are invited to take part in a free launch event for Germany. In this way, an initiative can be created to reshape the German economy across the board and introduce a new way of working. Our CEO, Tia Robinson and our COO, Alexis Fernandez together with Joe O`Connor, CEO of the 4 Day Week Global Foundation, will host an online round table on September 28th at 3 pm CEST. The event is an online round table that will present the pilot project in detail, answer questions from the public, and address any uncertainties. Special guests include Lasse Rheingans, CEO of Rheingans GmbH and author of the book "The 5 Hour Revolution", who already introduced the 5-hour day in his company a few years ago and thus reports from his own experience on how new working time models can be established. For a lively exchange, everyone can register for the free online event and will receive the dial-in link by email.
Germany Takes Notes on the UK and New Zealand‘s Successful 4-Day Work Week
European pilot project to launch the 4-day week in Germany starts in January 2023
Successful introduction of the 4-day workweek makes happier employees
A few weeks ago, a study by HDI was published showing that over 75 percent of employees in Germany would like to work four days a week. 63 percent would like to take this step only with the same pay, whereas 14 percent of professionals would also accept less pay for it.
“For me, coming from the U.S., Germany is the land of work-life balance. I feel like people here have a more fulfilling life outside of work and have an identity that is not primarily tied to their job. That's certainly one of the reasons our employees have asked for alternative work schedules many times, even before the Corona pandemic.”
Tia Robinson, CEO Expath
The British Lay the Foundation on European Soil
The largest experiment to date on the four-day week is currently taking place in the United Kingdom. Since June 2022, 3,300 employees in 70 British companies have been testing how productivity develops when employees work one day less per week. The interim conclusion shows: The four-day week does not have a negative impact on productivity. In some cases, a significant improvement was even observed. Employees have more opportunities for sports, cooking, hobbies, and time with their families. This increases their sense of well-being and makes them more energetic, as well as more efficient. Half of the companies also said they would like to keep the 4-day work week.
“Our research with companies implementing four-day work weeks has shown the power of this scheduling innovation. Companies and employees alike are reporting extremely high levels of satisfaction with the four-day week. The former are experiencing positive performance outcomes. Employees are also performing better, and in addition, they are experiencing significant declines in stress and burnout, and numerous other positive well-being outcomes, such as getting enough sleep — at least seven hours.”
Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, who conducts research with 4 Day Week Global
New Zealand Pioneers
However, the fact that the introduction of the 4-day workweek is no longer a new phenomenon is demonstrated by the first pilot project that was already launched in New Zealand back in 2018. At the time, the company Perpetual Guardian implemented the project as the world's first private enterprise. It was an eight-week trial involving all 240 of their employees. Again, the aim was to test the impact on productivity, motivation, and performance by changing the working model, and giving all employees one paid day off per week. This meant that all other terms and conditions of employment, including pay, vacation days, etc., remained unchanged. In turn, employees worked 30 hours but were paid for 37.5 hours, while still being expected to perform the same as they would in a standard week.
“It was the right thing to do. We want employees to do their best not only in the office but also at home. That's the natural solution”, said Perpetual Guardian CEO, Andrew Barnes. To leverage the study on a local and global scale for economic and productivity gains, the firm engaged academic partners such as the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to measure employee engagement outcomes and publish the results. Based on the results, the Perpetual Guardian soon after introduced the four-day workweek on a long-term and opt-in basis across the company from November 1st, 2018. This means that employees are free to choose whether to adopt this working model for themselves or not.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel: The 4-Day Workweek
The projects in the UK and New Zealand have shown that employees need sufficient time to restructure themselves. However, provided they are encouraged to do so and find out their own measure of productivity, they show initiative and pull together. It is important here that the days off within the teams are organized in such a way that the requirements of the customers and the company are not neglected. Testing the new working time model initially in the form of a pilot is a good way to approach the 4-day work week with an open mind and without pressure. Monitoring by external consultants commissioned to evaluate qualitative and quantitative success measurements supplements the scientific basis and confirms the positive effects. In case of doubt, the introduction of an opt-in policy for employees and departments can also be considered. Setting clear personal and team business goals and objectives simplifies the process. Likewise, seasonal differences in work schedules should be taken into account and flexibility should be allowed.
Germany is ready for the 4-day workweek. The initial implementation may not provide all the answers, but it can be a big step toward improving work for people and demonstrating the results. Finally, the goal of the initiative is to improve things not only in the context of the company but also in terms of broader social commitments. Social work in the community, involvement in local politics or in the district, and more presence of both parents in the daily life of the children bring many benefits to society. If men can be more involved in childcare and household chores, it also mitigates the childcare gap. The impact on the environment is also very apparent. Fewer commuters and offices that only need to be heated for four days are just a few arguments in this regard.
“We are very pleased that 4DW Global is now also running an EU pilot project, which we can play a leading role in shaping as an official partner in Germany. After the results from the UK and New Zealand, I am convinced that the idea can also work well in Germany.”