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While the main focus of four-day workweeks has been on white-collar workers, the flexible-hours movement is expanding to include a more comprehensive range of jobs. In Germany, DIY retailer Hornbach is launching 'Arbeitszeit nach Maß,' or tailored working hours.
Hornbach's new model comprises five building blocks. Employees can (1) convert holiday allowances or end-of-year bonuses into extra days off, (2) move to part-time temporarily or permanently, (3) convert their annual salary increase into reduced working hours, (4) redistribute their full-time working hours to a four-day workweek and (5) increase their full-time weekly working hours from 37.5 to 42.5 for a period of three, six or nine months.
The company's new mode of working goes into effect in 2023, following a trial with 330 employees that started in March 2022. As of September 2022, everyone from store associates to executives can adopt tailormade working hours for the coming year.
Along with everything else it upended, the pandemic provided a reset for workers, with many rethinking the role that employment plays in their lives. Resisting work's dominance, they're demanding greater flexibility from current and future employers. And companies are responding.
As board member and Labor Director Karsten Kühn explains: "At Hornbach, we see this as a great opportunity to attract people to the company who might've previously thought they were excluded because they didn't want to or couldn't work full-time. The new options don't just affect parents, but also people who simply want more free time and still want to take on considerable responsibility at work."
Hornbach isn't the only employer outside the white-collar domain to give employees greater control over when and how much they work. Earlier this year, fast-casual restaurant group Dig and DIY retailer Lowe's started experimenting with four-day workweeks to attract and retain employees.
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