Deutschland: Viertagewoche soll auch hier getestet werden

Forderung nach der Viertagewoche auf einer DGB-Kundgebung (Archiv): Unterschiedliche Modelle

Forderung nach der Viertagewoche auf einer DGB-Kundgebung (Archiv): Unterschiedliche Modelle

Foto: Michael Reichel / dpa

100-80-100 – ist das das Modell der Zukunft? Dieser Frage geht in Deutschland bald ein Pilotprojekt nach, ab Donnerstag können sich Arbeitgeber für die Teilnahme bewerben. 100 Prozent Leistung in 80 Prozent der Zeit bei 100 Prozent Bezahlung – kurzum: eine Viertagewoche – soll dabei über sechs Monate erprobt und die Umstellung wissenschaftlich ausgewertet werden. »Wir erhoffen uns, die Debatte über die Viertagewoche auf ein neues Niveau zu heben – mit wissenschaftlicher Unterstützung«, sagt dazu Unternehmensberater Jan Bühren von Intraprenör.

The company based in Berlin is collaborating with the organization Four Day Week Global to organize the project in Germany. The non-governmental organization has already initiated similar studies in other countries, including a highly regarded project in Great Britain. „We are bothered by the fact that the entire discussion is happening in a vacuum – because everything is only discussed in theory, but not put into practice,“ says Bühren. This is now set to change in Germany.

Viertagewoche ist nicht gleich Viertagewoche

The pilot project explicitly focuses on a four-day workweek, where working hours are reduced but salary and expected performance should remain the same. Other models, for example, propose that less working hours also result in less pay. In addition, some smaller companies are trying a concept where employees work slightly more on four days to compensate for the overtime of previous days with leisure time on the fifth day.

The most discussed option is the first one, which involves reducing working hours while maintaining the same salary. This is also the goal of IG Metall, as they demand a four-day workweek in the upcoming wage negotiations in the iron and steel industry. The idea behind this is that employees who only have to work four days a week are more focused and motivated, and can still meet their objectives within the shorter time frame.

Große Zustimmung

A recent study by the union-affiliated Hans-Böckler Foundation found that the four-day workweek is a popular idea among employees – at least when combined with equal pay. In the foundation’s survey, over 73 percent expressed a desire for a four-day workweek with a corresponding reduction in working hours. Around 8 percent also wished for it with reduced pay. 17 percent rejected the idea of a four-day workweek. The most commonly cited reason for wanting it was „because I want more time for myself“ (96.5 percent). This was followed by „because I want more time for my family“ (89 percent).

Jene Befragten, die die Viertagewoche ablehnten, sagten besonders häufig, dass sie Spaß an der Arbeit hätten (86 Prozent). 82 Prozent zeigten sich skeptisch, dass eine Arbeitszeitverkürzung etwas an den Arbeitsabläufen ändern würde. Rund 77 Prozent gehen davon aus, dass sie die Arbeit dann nicht mehr schaffen würden.

The middle class, however, is more skeptical about the four-day week. Christoph Ahlhaus, Federal Managing Director of the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Businesses, said that individual solutions between employees and employers should be favored. However, the middle class rejects government intervention that proposes reduced working hours with full wage compensation because it believes that productivity losses may occur, which would negatively impact companies and everyone else. He considers it unlikely that a significant number of members would introduce a „state-mandated four-day week“ given the shortage of skilled workers.

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Erfolgreicher Test in Großbritannien

After the four-day week project in the UK, the majority of participating companies had a very positive outcome. Out of 61 employers, 56 expressed their intention to continue with the four-day week. According to the data, sick days decreased by approximately two-thirds (65 percent) during the trial period, and the number of employees leaving the company during this time decreased by more than half (57 percent). On average, the analysis showed that the revenue of the participating companies increased by 1.4 percent during the testing phase. Researchers from Boston and Cambridge conducted the analysis and also conducted in-depth interviews with participants.

Mehr zum Thema

However, the results are based on the evaluation of companies that voluntarily participated. There was no random selection. In the UK, companies from the financial sector, IT and construction industries, as well as the hospitality and healthcare sectors, participated. In total, the participating companies employ around 2900 employees. Some businesses implemented a three-day weekend across the board, while others staggered the employees‘ day off throughout the week or linked it to specific goals.

Rund 50 Unternehmen in Deutschland gesucht

Hierzulande soll das Projekt ähnlich ablaufen wie in Großbritannien: Interessierte Unternehmen können sich ab Donnerstag für die Teilnahme bewerben. Intraprenör hat sich zum Ziel gesetzt, mehr als 50 Unternehmen in Deutschland von einer Teilnahme zu überzeugen. Noch in diesem Jahr soll auch der Testzeitraum beginnen.

The participating companies are expected to try out the four-day workweek for a minimum of six months. During this period, they can seek assistance from experts, learn new methods, and exchange ideas with other employers, according to Intrapreneur. They will also have the opportunity to connect with companies that have already permanently transitioned to the four-day workweek. The University of Münster will be responsible for the scientific evaluation.