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Less tired employees, no sick leave, economic and personal gains… This company tested the four-day week



Welcome to JC Logistique, an SME with 38 employees located in a village in the Vosges, about thirty kilometers from Remiremont. Here, we rent equipment and construction machinery, mainly for construction. And for a little over three years, the boss Régine Crouet has switched part of her team to a rhythm of four working days a week instead of five.

While the boss of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, said he was ready to consider the question, on January 31 in an interview with the newspaper The echoes, only a handful of SMEs have taken the plunge so far in France, including JC Logistique. In this company, it is mainly the geographical location that was decisive.

“We are in the Vosges, an hour’s drive from Mulhouse and Épinal. We wondered: how to bring people here?”, remembers Régine Crouet. According to her, “the four-day week is an answer. In addition, employees are less on the road and therefore less tired”, declares this sparkling woman with easy contact. The leader also believes that employees are more productive.“No one is on sick leave, I think that’s a strong sign.”

It was the storekeepers who were the first to change their pace. They still work 39 hours a week, but over only four days, with longer hours and shorter lunch breaks. “We have set up a six-week schedule”, explains Valérie, who makes their schedules. “Everyone has a Friday and a Monday once to have a three-day weekend. But everyone is there on Thursday because it’s the busiest day of the week at the store and it allows them all to see each other. We make rotations so that the store is always open. This does not penalize the work, the customer always has a store open from Monday to Friday.”

All employees have not gone to four days of work per week because the boss does not impose it. But those who took the plunge wouldn’t go back for anything in the world. Franck, for example, arrived three months ago. The four-day work was the argument that tipped the scales, he says. This storekeeper also insists on the economic gain in diesel. His colleague, Jean-pierre, sees it as a gain for his personal life.

“I immediately agreed to work four days a week. It gives us time, it’s another life.”

Jean-Pierre, storekeeper at JC Logistique

franceinfo

Beyond this example, few companies have taken the plunge. The subject is debated within the employers. The Center for Young Leaders knows something about this. The employers’ organization has launched a survey of its members. One in two say they are ready to experiment with the four-day week, but the subject is generating a lot of debate and tension, while discussions are underway in Austria, Belgium and Spain. “Lhe French situation is blocked because of a certain sclerosis of the debates born during the 35 hours”to analyse the Economist Philippe Askenazy, research director at the CNRS. He is not surprised by the debates generated by this type of proposal.

“There, we are changing the paradigm in a way. We are leaving a reflection on working time for another organization of social time, which is work over a week.”

Philippe Askenazy, economist

at franceinfo

Asked about the issue last week, Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne explained that it was not the priority but that there was no problem if companies wanted to test it. Basically, there is not always a need for political or trade union impetus to see a transformation within the company: it suffices to look at the extent of teleworking.



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