Libri-Bookline, one of the Central European region’s leading cultural and book market leaders, launched a trial period last October, during which it introduced a four-day work week at its Budapest headquarters for five months. After an evaluation, they decided to move to the new system.
Noémi Szeleczky, HR Director of Libri-Bookline, said at the launch of the pilot program last year that research and their own experience showed that employees who can maintain responsibilities both at work and at home are more balanced and perform better in their positions.
This seems to have been confirmed during the trial period, as 130-140 office workers of the company’s 650 employees will be affected by the positive changeover to a four-day work week in the near future. It means they will only have to work 34 hours a week for the same pay.
As a result of the shorter week, they will have to work 8.5 hours per day instead of the official 8 hours, but the company has already argued that the increase of half an hour will still accommodate family needs.
Libri-Bookline is not the first company to test the introduction of a four-day work week. Magyar Telekom’s first trial involved 300 employees, all of whom were positive about the new system, but the telecoms company has not yet decided on a formal introduction, and further pilot programs would be needed.
In western Europe, the idea of shorter work weeks is gaining ground as employers have also realized that it is worthwhile to take care of their employees’ mental well-being, because it can reduce the rate at which employees quit and the number of sick days taken.
Companies that have tried the four-day work week have all reported positive experiences, including improved productivity, morale, and team culture, and more personal time has reduced burnout and increased life satisfaction.
However, there are questions about the strategy, such as whether fewer hours are enough time to do the same job and whether the same pay can be given for fewer working days.
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