Entrepreneur Productivity: SMEs try their hand at the 4-day week

Productivity: SMEs try their hand at the 4-day week

Work less but more efficiently, to earn as much. If the equation has attracted employees and unions for years, a growing number of managers are now taking the plunge in their business by focusing on the four-day week. The Center for Young Leaders, which has just toured its 2,600 members to prepare its presidential campaign grievances, also surveyed them on this managerial innovation. “More than half of them are ready to test the formula, cannot believe it Emeric Oudin, the president of the employers’ network. It is true that we only have positive feedback from those who put it in place. Himself with the 18 employees of his small business selling protective equipment Environment axis is thinking about it very seriously for 2022.

Fuel savings

Several formulas exist for the four-day week, Friday released being the most frequent. The weekly duration often remains the same, around 35 to 39 hours, depending on the statutes, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. Without ever losing wages.

Whether at the CJD or elsewhere, the leaders often put forward for first reasons the desire to improve the well-being of their employees, as well as the attractiveness of their company, two issues that the pandemic has imposed on the agenda of the leaders. . “The upsurge in burn-outs makes you think. Many employees have also left their position or their region, becoming more demanding on well-being at work. The four-day week is an element of attractiveness, ”abounds Emeric Oudin.

Ax Environnement’s business sector shows that managerial innovation is not reserved for start-ups, even if it has been publicized by a few names with a view to digital, such as the Lyon electronics retailer LDLC or, more recently, the Parisian job site Welcome to the Jungle.

In the Vosges, Regine Crouet, who created, fifteen years ago, the vehicle rental company JC Logistics did not wait for the pandemic to eliminate a weekly working day in 2019 in the warehouse team. The service represents a fifth of the workforce of this SME of 50 people for 8 million euros in turnover. “ It was the most complicated service to set up from an operational point of view, and the team was not asking, ”she remembers, a bit playful.

She convinced one of her most opposed employees to try, he became the most fan. Like the others, he appreciates the free time, but also the fuel savings. Only one preferred to stay every five days. This team, which was at 39 hours, continues to perform this volume of activity, but at the rate of 9 to 10 hours of daily work. The experience convinced Régine Crouet to extend this rhythm to other functions next year. His in particular: “ I have a lot of passions, I would like to try to take Fridays in 2022.

Crop on the margins

The Ile-de-France Nizar AlashbiliHe decided to convert his digital business services company all at once. The president of the Tenor Group will sign in a few days with its CSE the collective agreement which will come into force in January. Half of its workforce of 150 people work every 35 hours, they will increase to 32 hours thanks to a donation of 3 hours per week from the SME. The other employees on the day package will see their weekly limit increase to 34 hours. Fridays will only be worked by two services, including the “hot-line”.

“The shortened week is an ecological argument for young candidates for employment”

Since 2013, Nizar Alachbili has upgraded Tenor from a VSE with less than three employees to the current group through 15 external growths. “Since 2019, we have reached a critical size that I want to stabilize. These mergers were starting to create tensions and I was thinking about a project to rebalance my personal / professional life. Since the pandemic, as elsewhere, I have noticed more and more discomfort in the teams, which prompted me to speed up the project and to choose the formula of four days of work. “For him, the project is financially rational:” In the short term, we will cut back on our margins, but in the medium term, I bet on having more fulfilled, more efficient staff. “

In this way, the business manager also tries to regain attractiveness. “I have felt breathlessness since June, until then we had no problem hiring thanks to triple-digit growth, a daring image, etc. “He has just launched a wave of 50 recruitments to meet a packed order book. He also notes that the shortened week is an ecological argument for young candidates for employment. “This will result in 40% of trips from our fleet of 90 vehicles,” he promises.

Presence management software

Each company invents its formula. Wood Design, the wood fitting company for stores (90 employees, 15 million euros in turnover in Lozanne (Rhône) was created from the start in 2006 on the concept of the 4-day week. Some employees work Monday through Thursday, others work Tuesday through Friday, or off Wednesday. To better organize itself, the company is even creating its own attendance management software. In the midst of a boom in the face of demand for wood, Design Bois appreciates not suffering from turnover.

In mid-October, during a promotional conference for the four-day week organized by the CGT, the delegate Gilles Degea at the manufacturer of public works machinery Bosch Rexroth recalled that their passage from 39 to 32 hours date of the end from the 1990s. The industrialist works with three shifts of six hours each, against two of eight before, without loss of salary.

Another scenario, Airbus Nantes experienced during the pandemic the passage from 8 to 6 hours per week, the 2 hours less being paid by the State, via a long-term partial activity agreement. Laurence Danet, CGT general secretary of the plant points to four positive effects noted by employees: more flexible childcare, reduction in musculoskeletal disorders, reduction in accidents during commuting and increased production quality. This did not fully convince the employer: working time was changed to 35 hours in September.

The four-day week is not in fact likely to become widespread in France. A majority of employees do not initially express the need and employers’ organizations such as Medef sweep the subject aside. Francois Asselin, the President of the CPME believes that the vast majority of businesses cannot operate for just four days. “It is also more tiring to work 10 hours a day than 8, which poses a problem of productivity” he asserts. “We collectively need to work more to generate more wealth,” concludes the entrepreneur.

A quarter of French people want to shorten their week

According to the study “Workforce View 2020”, HR specialist ADP, which surveyed more than 1,900 French employees, 21% would like to reduce their week against longer working days, 6% would be ready to lower their wages to work less and 34% would like to work more in order to earn more. The others are happy with their situation.

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