Software Delsol is the first company in Spain to introduce the 4-day work week for its 181 employees – without any loss of income. The company in Jaén, a city in southern Spain, is now considered a blueprint for a nationwide model of the 4-day work week in Spain. The results after one year are very positive, as Ana Arroyo, the company’s HR manager, told Kontrast.at in an interview.
Kontrast: Why did Software Delsol decide to introduce the 4-day work week?
Arroyo: At Software Delsol, our team has always come first. All our activities revolve around our employees. We are convinced that our staff is more productive when we take good care of them and ultimately that this is how we achieve our most important goal, which is to provide the best quality of service to our customers.
We have already implemented many reconciliation policies to increase the job satisfaction and motivation of our employees, such as the extension of days off work in case of hospitalization of a family member, the extension of maternity/paternity leave by four weeks, flexible working hours, teleworking, etc.
In the end, it was important for us to find a measure that would benefit 100 percent of the workforce and that would allow our team to better balance their work life with their private life. That’s how the idea of working only four days a week came about.
The management presented the idea first to the leadership team and then later to the rest of the workforce, who took the news with great enthusiasm.
What impact did the reduction in working hours have on your company?
Arroyo: We introduced the measure last January and after one year we can say that the results are very positive.
Essentially, we were able to reduce the number of absences by 28 percent compared to 2019 – and that was in a year with a difficult pandemic. And our overall turnover has increased by 30 percent compared to the previous year.
In addition, the team spirit and commitment of our employees have increased enormously. We have a very high level of employee loyalty with de facto zero percent fluctuation and were also able to recruit more employees last year.
Our working atmosphere survey conducted among the staff shows very positive results with 8.9 out of 10 satisfaction points. In the annual survey among our customers, the quality of our services was rated with 8.64 points. These figures show us that we are on the right track.
How did Software Delsol prepare for the reduction in working hours?
Arroyo: After the management proposed the idea to the leadership team, we immediately set up a task force to explore all the possibilities. Our philosophy is to work four days a week instead of five. It is important to us that we can maintain the excellent quality of service for our customers in the process.
For this purpose, we divided the workforce into two groups: The employees in the departments that have no direct customer contact, work Monday to Thursday and always have the same day off. In the departments where there is direct customer contact, the employees rotate and each have a different day of the week off. In order to implement this measure, we had to increase our staff by 15 percent.
How did the employees react?
Arroyo: Our employees have accepted the reduction in working hours very well because it allows them better to combine their work life and their private life. In addition, our employees’ salaries have not decreased even though they work fewer hours per week.
And today? Are the employees satisfied?
Arroyo: To this day, our employees are thrilled with the 4-day work week because it simply makes it easier to balance everyday things with work life, such as taking the kids to school, exercising, taking classes or pursuing other hobbies.
They also come into work each week with a positive attitude, and that improves their emotional balance.
How did the customers react?
Arroyo: Our customers often address our staff about the 4-day week and to this day they are very satisfied with the quality of our services. This is what is crucial for us.
Do you think the 4-day week is a model for the future?
Arroyo: I believe and hope so. We must remember how important people in our organizations are and work to improve their professional, physical and psychological well-being.
The reduction in working hours has contributed to greater well-being in our company and to a happier and more motivated workforce, which is more productive as a result. All this in turn has a positive effect on the growth of the company.
Why do you think so many entrepreneurs are against a reduction in working hours with full wage compensation?
Arroyo: To implement such a measure, a company has to spend a lot of money. Software Delsol had to invest 420,000 euros, for salaries, equipment, training, etc. But we see this as an investment and not just as a cost factor.