Four-day working week trialled by Swiss companies

Four-day working week trialled by Swiss companies

Several Swiss companies have been experimenting with a four-day working week for their employees. The idea of reducing working hours while paying the same salary has now been used by several international companies around the world to ease stress and reduce overworking.

Four-day working week trialled in Swiss companies

Speaking to SonntagsZeitung, the head of graphic design firm Büro a+o, Andreas Ott, said his office has remained closed on Fridays for several years. He introduced the system before going on paternity leave and has paid his employees the same as other companies, while only asking them to work four days a week.

He explained that although the system reduces profit, the difference isn't as dramatic as you might expect. The original idea of a “four-day week” comes from Japan, which used the system to combat overwork and its associated health conditions. Since then, companies like Unilever, Knorr and Bolt have trialled the idea in places around the world.

Shorter working week may increase pressure on workers

However, experts have found that the move to a four-day week can increase pressure on workers. Gudela Grote, professor at ETH Zurich, noted that the change can see high levels of overtime and can increase stress, particularly in large companies.

Fabian Schneider, a Swiss entrepreneur and Managing Director at seerow, said that he will keep the four-day week after trialling the idea at his office. He found that feedback from his employees after the switch was positive, noting, "The days are certainly intense, but at the same time, we are now better organised and more productive.”

While the move has strong support among trade unions, a spokesperson for the Swiss Employers Confederation was more hesitant. In a statement, the confederation said they wanted to observe the evolution of the idea before recommending the switch.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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