In order to become more attractive as an employer, Spiez-based SME SH Elektro introduced the four-day week. The managing director and an employee take stock.

What the managing director thinks

“After spending two years searching for new employees without success, it was clear that we had to do something to ensure that joining our company offered genuine added value. If I had been asked a
year or two ago, I would have said that a four-day week on a construction site was not possible. Nevertheless, we went ahead and introduced it in the autumn of 2022. At the same time, we also optimised many of our processes. For example, we digitised some methods of communication. In addition, supplies of
materials now go directly to the construction site or to employees’ homes so they don’t have to stop by at the plant in the morning. And what can I say? The studies are right. Employees are more motivated and think for themselves more. We have received a dozen speculative applications, which never happened in the past. We had a third fewer sick days in the winter.”

More speculative applications and fewer sick days.

What the employee thinks

“At first, we employees were rather sceptical. Would we now have to cram 40 hours of work into four days? We agreed to 35 hours per week – that is, almost 30 minutes more work per day on the four working days. We have made many decisions together and are continuously adapting the processes within the team. Friday is a day off for us. I spend this day with my three children, so my wife can work on Fridays. And if she happens to be at home, I also have time for sport. The much discussed work-life balance is considerably better. You’re really able to wind down. To be honest, I couldn’t go back to a five-day week. I’d probably work 80% instead. We’re constantly asked how we manage this on a construction site. Some people can’t
imagine that it’s possible in the construction industry. But no labourer would say no to a day off.”

No labourer would say no to a day off.

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Image source: Till Lauer

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