Major Swiss company abandons four-day week because of staff shortages

Major Swiss company abandons four-day week because of staff shortages

Over the last few months, many international companies and entrepreneurs in Switzerland have chosen to switch to a four-day working week. Now, a large construction company in Lucerne has been forced to scrap the policy, due to price fluctuations and staff shortages.

Four day working week hugely popular with Swiss companies

Workers at the Wittwer Metallbau near Lucerne were given shorter working hours six months ago. At the time the company praised the policy, noting that 90 percent of the workload was being done in just 80 percent of the time.

The four-day working week has been trialled and implemented by several Swiss companies, with experts hoping the extra day off will help contribute to the work-life balance of employees, while not reducing output by having people work longer days. So far, the practice has been most popular in the IT and gastronomy industries, with Wittwer being one of the few manufacturing and construction companies to give the idea the go-ahead.

Staff shortages and unstable markets made four day week impossible

However, the Swiss company recently announced that they would be returning to a five-day-a-week system. According to owner Nicole Wittwer, “We had various staff shortages. That will always happen and we would normally be able to deal with it. But now so many shortages came together that it was no longer possible to plan customer orders on time.”

“If you have 10 percent less time, everything just has to go incredibly well,” Wittwer noted. She explained that huge price fluctuations in manufacturing, personnel and transportation have made planning working hours more challenging, meaning the company cannot currently support shorter working hours.

Wittwer assured that Wittwer Metallbau "really wants to implement the four-day week” in the future, announcing that the company hopes to reapply the policy at the end of the summer.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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