A 4-day week in the sights of French officials?

The health crisis continues to have a major impact on the lifestyle and work of French workers. Remote work has been proven to contribute to the emergence of a 4-day week in business, according to the study “People at Work 2022: Labor Force Survey” ADP, a pioneer and world leader in human resources. The survey was conducted among more than 32,924 working people in 17 countries, including almost 2,000 in France.

Returning to the office was sometimes synonymous with returning to the old ways of working: eliminating the possibility of remote work, strengthening control over teams by management with companies trying to implement sustainable flexible work policies. However, for employees, presentism is now an outdated concept, and many of them want to be free to manage their time and workload, even going so far as to want to take a 4-day week. In fact, 64% of French employees would like to benefit from more flexibility in organizing their working time with the ability to reduce it to a 4-day week. This is 4 points more than in 2019 (60%).

This desire to switch to a 4-day week is especially present among parents (69%), women (66%) and aged 25-44 (67%). This is also supported by employees of the hotel and tourism industry (76%), industry (69%) and the media and information (69%). Although the 4-day week is becoming increasingly popular with employees, only 5% of French companies have adopted it to date and only 19% have implemented a flexible work policy. When such an organization is established, 76% of employees benefit from this flexibility and only 7% feel guilty about using this advantage.

Rethink organizations

Although the French say that the main factor for work is wages (67%), more than half (57%) would agree to reduce it in exchange for a better work-life balance. This is especially true for people aged 18-24 (65%), as well as those working in the media and information (69%), leisure and hospitality (67%) and finance (64%). On the other hand, unlike workers worldwide (50%), only 27% in France would agree to a reduction in their remuneration in exchange for a flexible work schedule. The conclusion is more noticeable among men (32%), 18-34 years old (32%) and among those who work in finance (38%), media and information (38%), as well as in real estate (36%) ). ).

Employers who have the opportunity to enter into employment contracts with more flexibility could benefit from this in terms of recruitment and retention, especially given that 57% of French workers, including 72% of people aged 18-34, considered the possibility of a major career change last year, whether moving to another industry, vacation or starting a business. ” After the pandemic, the list of employees’ expectations about their work environment was constantly evolving: we knew that wages and job security were significant motivators, and now they have been joined by flexibility. says Carlos Fontelas de Carvalho, president of the ADP in France and Switzerland. ” French workers are, in fact, satisfied with their current work, but the fact that most have thought about a radical career change should challenge us and encourage employers to think about the best models for their organizations. “.

Does the hybrid work as a solution?

The 4-day week is widely mentioned, but we must remain vigilant in the face of the risk of depletion of employees who have to do more work in less time, and remember that this type of model is not suitable for all companies. In fact, it is all a matter of organization and working time on site or remotely that needs to be explored to meet employees’ expectations about work-life balance, value at work, and social connections. Mixed work, if possible, can partially meet these expectations, as can flexible working hours or an adapted schedule, provided the company has the right tools to measure activity. ” In general, we see a great demand from employees for management models based on trust, autonomy and responsibility, which, of course, allows us to attract and, above all, retain the best talent. This is a serious challenge for companies in the current environment. sums up Carlos Fontelas de Carvalho.

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