Many SMEs experiment with a 4-day week

Since the start of the health crisis, many companies have already begun experimenting with the 4-day week. These are mainly small and medium-sized companies, which are seeing the positive effects of testing this new work organization, and are using it as an argument to attract new recruits.

One free day in the week for an unchanged salary

Employees of companies that have decided to test the 4-day week will not suffer any loss of pay. The number of working hours per week remains unchanged, averaging between 35 and 39 hours.

Most often, companies experimenting with this new work organization choose to have their employees come in from Monday to Thursday, thus extending their weekend by a day. Other formulas can be put in place, for example by allowing employees to choose the day they want to work when possible.

The 4-day week is attracting more and more companies, as noted by the Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants (CJD), a network of entrepreneurs founded in 1938. In a survey of its 2,600 members, over half said they were ready to experiment with this new work organization.


4-day week: well-being and attractiveness for some, lower productivity for others

Whether it's SMEs that have implemented the 4-day week, or those that are considering it, the arguments put forward are, on the one hand, employee well-being, and on the other, the attractiveness of the company. In a context marked by recruitment difficulties, the 4-day week is a very attractive argument that can make the difference with a competing company.

Some SMEs have opted for a gradual introduction of this new work organization. This is the case for JC Logistique, a Vosges-based company specializing in equipment rental for the construction and industrial sectors. Starting in 2019, the 4-day week has been introduced for warehouse workers, who represent 20% of the company's workforce.

Conversely, the Ténor group, which supports companies in their digital transformation, has signed a collective agreement so that almost all its staff will work just 4 days a week from January 2022.

However, the widespread introduction of the 4-day week is unlikely: employers' organizations are opposed to it, and the majority of employees are not calling for such a measure. Among the unfavorable arguments put forward by employers' associations is the idea that the 4-day week, which requires longer working hours every day, would lead to additional fatigue and therefore lower productivity.