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German Firm Testing 5-Hour Workday

German Firm Testing 5-Hour Workday

(Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 24 October 2019 10:38 PM

The owner of a small tech consulting firm in Germany has been trying out a five-hour workday that pays wages and benefits like a normal eight-hour shift.

“They were not sure if I was kidding,” Lasse Rheingans told the Wall Street Journal about his workers’ reaction when he introduced the concept in 2017. “Some of them thought I was testing them. But yeah, I was being serious.”

At Rheingans Digital Enabler, the 16 employees start work at 8 a.m. and may leave at 1 p.m.  Rheingans, the firm's managing director, says employees can deliver the same output during a focused 25-hour week as in 40 hours interrupted with distractions like replying to emails and checking Facebook.

“We have all experienced that: We sit in the office, out of energy, reading newspapers online or Facebook, just in need of the little pauses to recharge, but you don’t really recharge,” he told the Journal. “My idea is focusing on the first five hours and then just leave, and have a proper break.”

According to the Journal, small talk during work hours is discouraged. Social media is banned. Phones are kept in backpacks. Company email accounts are checked just twice a day. And most meetings last no more than 15 minutes.

It works, the Journal reported.

Rheingans says his company, which develops websites, apps and e-commerce platforms, was profitable in 2018, the first full year he owned it. He says happier employees deliver better work, and the shorter workday is a draw, boosting recruitment in Germany’s tight labor market.

“It’s not really about the process of establishing a five-hour day. It’s about individual maturity,” he told the Journal. “It’s so silly to think of a 40-hour workweek when work is not a place or time.” 

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The owner of a small tech consulting firm in Germany is trying out a new idea: a five-hour workday that pays wages and benefits like a normal eight-hour shift.
workdayfivehoursgermanytech
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2019-38-24
Thursday, 24 October 2019 10:38 PM
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