We are switching to a 4-day workweek at full pay

Over summer we will run an experiment: only working 32 h a week without cutting salary. Here is the why and how!

Maria Gebhardt
Jul 7 · 4 min read

Here at diesdas.digital we take a strong stance when it comes to work ethics and we strive for a healthy work life balance. We don’t want people to work overtime, we don’t do competitive pitches, we get 30 days of holidays a year (+1 if your birthday falls on a weekday) and we try to foster a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard and respected. At the end of last year, we decided to let go of our core working hours and switch to a flexible schedule to give people more freedom in structuring their day.

To make it short: We want to be a company that takes care of its employees.

Although the pandemic is flaring down for now here in Germany, it is still on and we don’t know how life will be at the beginning of autumn. A lot of us continue to feel the effects of the last year. It has been a challenging time that cost a lot of energy. To quote one of our partners, Lorenz: Life right now feels like it’s all work and no play.

So we decided to run a 4-day workweek experiment for 3 months.

What this means is, that the whole company will only be working 4 days a week for the summer months of July, August and September.

We have actually been thinking about this for quite some time, this idea is definitely not new. Now felt like the perfect time to stop business as usual and try out something new to soothe our nerves. We can enjoy longer summer weekends, take trips and relax or learn new things. We can use this time to see and meet with people and family, recover or just run errands.

On the other hand, as a company we want to see how a 4-day workweek is impacting us and the way we work.

Working only 4 days does not mean, that we’ll be compressing our 38h in those days. We will be reducing the number of working hours and try to get more effective in our work. We want to work less and do it well. Salaries won’t be touched, it’s going to be 100 % of the money for less time.

Some of our employees are on a 4-day a week contract already. As they should get something out of this as well, their salaries will get equalized to those having a 5-day contract. So basically, everyone in the company from partner to intern will be working for 4 days and get paid for 5 days.

This whole experiment is requiring a lot of planning and prioritizing. We still want to be reliable regarding our clients, therefore we will be running a shift system. Some get Mondays off, others Fridays, depending on each and everyone’s preferences, Tuesday-Thursday will stay working days for everyone. We’ve informed our clients beforehand and the feedback we received has been overall positive.

We’re really curious how this experiment will impact team morale, productivity and creativity. So we will do surveys to get on overview on our coworker’s wellbeing and stress-levels. We want to detect advantages and disadvantages working only 4 days brings us as individuals and for the entire company.

This experiment is time-boxed and we’ll be returning to a 5-day week in October, but who knows what will happen if all goes well?

Keep an eye on this blog and our socials — we will keep you all posted on how it’s going!

PS: Why is this an “old idea”? Well, when diesdas was born in 2016 we had planned to work only four days from the very start, but somehow this plan never came to fruition and we settled into the usual five-day rhythm (albeit with only 38h). We’re happy to finally try four days for real, more than five years later. Good things take time!

diesdas.digital is a studio for strategy, design and code in Berlin, featuring a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and strategists. We create tailor-made digital solutions with an agile mindset and a smile on our faces. Let’s work together!

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