Wiesthal - The WENZEL Group GmbH & Co. KG introduced the 4-day week in production at its headquarters in Wiesthal at the beginning of the year. With this new working time model, the globally active machine manufacturer is a pioneer in its industry and the region.
The year 2021 has finally gone well again for WENZEL , the consequences of the car crisis and the Corona pandemic well digested: even the order books for 2022 are already well filled again. But despite this, WENZEL is now not simply going about business as usual, but is introducing a new working time model that is very innovative for machine manufacturing companies: the 4-day week as standard in production and as an option in administration.
Employee-oriented, innovative and sustainable
The new working time model, which had been prepared since mid-2021 and implemented at the beginning of the year, was to be employee-oriented, innovative and sustainable. Employee-oriented, because many employees had signalled that the short-time work temporarily required by Corona actually fit very well with their own demands.
"We launched the 4-day week under the motto 'Modern workplaces for the future'," emphasizes Managing Director Dr. Heike Wenzel. "There is more time for our own interests, family and friendships. For us, however, the new working time model is also a great way to score points as an attractive employer, a clear advantage in the competition for the best talent on the labor market."
The model is innovative because the motivation and satisfaction of our employees is more important to us than the utilisation of the machines necessary for production, some of which are very capital-intensive. However, it requires very good planning so that the same number of machines can be produced in the 4 days as before. The new working time model also has a sustainable effect, as many energy-intensive machines, compressed air and air-conditioning systems can now be switched off on Thursday evenings, resulting in energy savings of 10-15% for the same production output.
Options extended to working from home
"The reduction of working days from five days to four days per week takes effect in all departments where implementation is possible," explains HR Manager Daniel Eisler. The employees were able to decide individually about the change of the working time model. The majority of the female employees were happy to accept the change, especially since the reduction of the work contracts from 37.5 to 36 hours took place without a reduction in pay. The employees with 40-hour contracts could decide: either reduce to the 4-day week with 36 hours with an "excess" or stay with the old contract. "For those who wanted to stay with their existing model, we expanded the options to include working from home," Eisler continues.
Currently, the 40-hour week is still the standard in most companies. However, studies and practical examples show that the 4-day week also has the potential to increase motivation and productivity with effective time management. In the meantime, the new model has already been put into practice for one month. The employees have settled in and positive voices report that productivity remains the same as expected despite the reduction in hours.
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