Infotech “Bosses, try the 4-day week, it works”

“Bosses, try the 4-day week, it works”

LDLC is the computer hardware sales company that is on the rise. Year on year, the company has grown by 47%. Admittedly, the successive confinements are not there for nothing in this success, but the real secret of the boss, Laurent de la Clergerie, is the well-being of his teams.

At a time when the 35 hours are unraveled in the name of “work more to earn more”, he has chosen to spend 800 of his employees at 32 hours to practice the four-day week, without loss of pay. LDLC has been living at this rate since January and has not lost any of its productivity. But to achieve “free time recovery”, other companies need to get started. Laurent de la Clergerie therefore encourages the owners to give it a try, as he explains in our video below.

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The 4-day week without loss of pay … You have to be a left-wing boss to have such an idea, right?

So no, I’m not a left-wing boss. But that does not prevent being social, on the contrary. In my opinion, this measure is apolitical because, ultimately, it is social so, yes, more left. But if I look at the economic results of the company, the measure is also perfect because in the end, I am a winner. It is therefore suitable for both edges. In fact, this subject is “transparti”.

What is the basic principle that guided your decision to “impose” these four days?

We all lived the four-day week. And we all see it every year, whenever there is a bridge in the week. It’s a week that we have not seen go by, we are rested and we would like to have only weeks like that. We all say it to each other, whatever job we have, when we spend a four-day week.

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“We are in a virtuous circle”: these employees have moved to the four-day week

And economically, does it really work?

If I give you a figure that can show that productivity is indeed there, over the past year, we have achieved 47% growth. A year ago, there were 1,000 of us. Today we are still around 1,000.

Are you not afraid, in the more or less near future, of being forced to stagnate wages?

We spent four days in 32 hours, which we always pay 35 hours, without any reduction in salary and by valuing the positions – today and in the future -, always under the same conditions. The bet was precisely that: we are not going to lose in productivity, therefore, there is no reason to lower wages. This year, we were even able to revalue the lowest salaries in the company by 10%.

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Employees will also be more productive because we have freed up one day in the week to do everything we never have time to do and that, from time to time, we did during working time.

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Can this measure create jobs?

If I look at our company, the four-day week did not generate as many jobs as I imagined. The set-up cost me less than expected. I think we have five or six jobs created. On the other hand, when I imagine the model in a larger way, four days, that frees up a day for each person, a day when people will have to take care. And I’m sure there are a number of indirect jobs that would be enormous if, tomorrow, more and more companies switched to the four-day week, because people would start to play sports, to have leisure, to go shopping at times when, today, there are not necessarily many people in the stores. So I think that, indirectly, it is a measure that creates jobs.

Some bosses say they are scalded by the 35 hours. What do you say to them?

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We must not think in questions of hours. We must not say to ourselves that the 35 hours have screwed up so the 32 hours in four days will screw up. You really have to think about how people are going to live through four days. When I put the idea down on paper, I realized I couldn’t see where there could be a bug. And, indeed, even though the 35-hour week has proven to be difficult for businesses to live with, the four-day week is much easier to manage. And it brings so much well-being behind the teams to have this day in addition that, once we have passed this course in the head, I think we manage to understand the meaning.

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Do you feel a shudder on the side of other business leaders?

A lot of bosses contacted me when it was announced. At first, they were curious and wanted to observe. Now other bosses are contacting me saying: we need more perspective but it’s interesting what you’re doing. And, for the past few days, some have wanted to meet with me to talk about it. They are asking for the agreement that we signed, they are thinking about it. We start to inspire. This is what I’m trying to do. I am not in mode: this is the solution, go through it all but, in any case, think about this solution because it works very well with us.

But is it really applicable everywhere?

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I projected myself wondering how it could work in others. I believe that the larger the company, the easier it is to set up and the smaller it is, the more individual positions there are, the more complicated it is. The real complexity lies in the pooling of a position. As a business works for five or six days, the day a person is not there, it has to work. Where there are a lot of staff, it is easier to be versatile and to turn. For small structures, we see it with our stores of three or four people, we have not succeeded in setting up the device for the moment. In fact, aid is needed to help small structures hire.

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Can the four-day week be invited into the presidential debates?

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Of course, this is a real debate! In any case, as some countries are in the process of doing it, I think we have to organize the framework in order to be able to test and verify that what we are experiencing can be experienced in other companies. We were able to do this by making all the employees of the company part-time. It was the only way to achieve this while preserving the retirement rights of the teams. To be able to see the development of experience, for other companies to take the leap, we need a legal framework.

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