Good business practices: a 6-hour worker, unlimited paid leave, share in a company's turnover



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If you are on a regular basis, you are likely to work at least eight hours a day, every weekday, maybe another Saturday or even Sunday. It often happens that employees work up to more than eight hours a day. Is this really necessary? Do we really do more with longer jobs? During the holiday, we see how some successful Slovenian companies take care of having satisfied and successful employees.

Several studies have shown that, for a longer period of time, we spend more time at work, we are less happy, concentration falls and, consequently, we are less productive. Even if we are navigating according to Eurostat data, we see that Slovenia is among the 10 EU countries with the longest working week, reaching only 81% productivity, below the EU average28. The top of the productivity grid is very close to the top of the range of countries where workers work at least hours a week.

In the developed world, there is a growing trend in recent times as companies and governments try to reduce working time and introduce a better relationship between work and leisure. All this is possible with us if the company and the workers are well organized. We have put together some good practices.

The six-hour worker already has a reality in our country

At Donar, which currently employs 19 people, this week is a collective holiday, everyone in the company is on a first-holiday holiday. A year ago, they decided to take a step forward to relieve their employees and introduce a six-hour test for six months. "When we saw that people had already done their work half an hour before the completed worker and were literally waiting to finish the day's work, this seemed to us a total absurdity.The only instruction is that the work has to be done. to optimize processes, which we can do with better time planning, and then this was a very logical consequence " the decision to transfer the company to a six-hour worker is explained by the director of the award-winning design company Matej Feguš.

Since the middle of a year it has been found that they also work fewer hours a day, and employees are more satisfied with it, they have maintained that agreement. "In practice, it seems people are in principle from 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the office because they have an extra half hour of coffee breaks, cigarettes, etc. Six hours in the office, we have a more flexible time. we're getting there at nine, and then we stay longer. Payments and salaries are paid the same way as we did when we had an eight-hour job. " Fegus explains.

"We are convinced that we have a worker of six hours and everything that is more and outside working hours is paid," says Matej Feguš de Donar.PHOTO: Nejc Lasic

According to him, such a worker proved to be a good decision. "I'm sure people are less tired, they also ask me whether they have increased or reduced some of the costs.The only thing we noticed was that in the winter months even energy costs were even lower.People are at home, so that relations are, in principle, also better " says Fegus. An additional reason to choose a six hour worker is that they are less sick and that people may still be active after retirement. The company has a problem with the acquisition of certain employees, especially those who deal with manual labor such as wallpaper. Some will soon fulfill the conditions for retirement, but as there are no new employees, they rely on their help – at least occasionally – after retirement. "It was also the purpose of not being wasted and after being retired, they are not burdened by a health checkup."

The company says it is unlikely to come back eight hours. If they have a greater workload, employees will extend the work by one hour. "But the next day they have so much money, or they get paid as overtime. We stick to it if we say that he's a six-hour worker to pay for everything else and outside working hours." they say in Donar.

As Fegus says, he is aware that a shortened worker is probably not possible in all sectors and in all modes of work. "But that's far more reliable, somewhere where people might not imagine they did not try."

Unlimited paid license

The experience of companies with a six-hour service is also closely monitored by the Mikro + Polo company, based in Maribor, which employs 105 people in Slovenia, but for now they remain in a classic eight-hour job. They now relieve their employees at this largest Slovenian supplier of laboratory equipment, equipment and chemicals, offering them unlimited paid licenses and working from home as well.

Unlimited paid leave does not, of course, mean that a worker is employed, he will work for a month, and then he does not have a full year. "Every employee has his own couple, someone who has a similar or equal job and can replace him." The two who are in pairs should always co-ordinate, both of which may not be on leave except in some exceptional cases for which day or two: the one who is at work, posters are also urgent matters of a colleague who is on leave " he says Mirjana Mladic, which is the company responsible for marketing, communication and staff development. "The only limitation is that the work must be done. We must make sure that our work does not last, even if we are on leave."

According to her, they recalled that, in practice, their employees spend one more day off per employee than if they met the legal license provisions. "But it's a bit redistributable. Older employees use a little less license than they would have after the decision, but younger parents, especially young ones, a little more." explains further Mladic. "So far, there have been no specific abuses on this issue, but we have a safeguard in the internal regulations – if someone tries to abuse this institute, they would be in a position to make the decisions and only take the license they had by law" adds.

Mikro + Polo employees enjoy many benefits, but they are so intertwined that they even lower their salaries to overcome times of crisis.PHOTO: Micro + Polo

Participation in company traffic

LanguageSitter, which employs more than 100 people, has a more limited staff that coordinates language courses, a very traditional programming. However, the director of the company Mart D. Buh says they do not watch the clock: "It's important that things get done. A different schedule has our language coaches and coaches who work primarily in the field with clients. Its agenda is more dynamic and unpredictable, it responds to some, others a little less. "For now, they are not thinking about the reduced timeline. "But we have a rule in the company that if the water does not really burn, the weekends and holidays are exclusively for free time, and employees are not expected to work at that time."

"The system works because we all work towards the same goal," says Mart D. Buh, director of LanguageSitter.PHOTO: personal archive

For a good atmosphere in the team are concerned about the so-called teambuilding, excursions, informal meetings … In addition, they also financially stimulate their employees to a good job, distributing profits among employees. "In addition to regular income, all employees receive rewards based on the company's monthly billing, which is usually quite normal for employees in sales, as the seller's success is clearly measured, but it is more difficult to measure the performance of other jobs than are not directly related to financial performance.We work as a team and regardless of the position and no matter how many new customers you have brought, the employee belongs to your monthly billing percentage, which he helped create for you, the team and the company with your work is compromised.The system works because we all work towards the same goal " says Buh.

The company does not have a set time for lunch, coffee or social networking online, but employees do not take advantage of it. "If they need a break, they just take it – you can not do a good job of getting tired."

Well-being of employees – Job well done – Successful company?

Otherwise, more and more companies are aware that the key atmosphere in collective satisfaction and employees is their success. This can affect employers in three ways: by providing an adequate and friendly work environment, by providing adequate support and rewarding employees, and by striving for well-being and successful work.

At the Donar design company, they are trying to physically relieve the work environment as much as possible. For example, in the offices they work on lifting tables and chairs, in this way they take care of the health of the employees, because the sedentary lifestyle proves to lead to many health problems. It organizes a series of educations for employees in both the field of expertise and the field of health protection. Above all, they listened to their employees and together they came up with the idea of ​​a lower worker.

"I would like them not to perceive work as a matter of pressure, but as something we do and want to be good." So, explore our potential and thus contribute more to society. As for rights and duties, I believe we will too. as a company, once understood the value that the employee brings to the company " says Fegus and adds: "Without us all this would not have happened and we would not have gotten what we're doing."

The language company LanguageSitter says that they create a more pleasant environment in which they have very relaxed and informal relationships, "where each vote is at least audible, even if it is not always taken into account". "Every Monday morning we started with a breakfast together, where team members talk about what we did over the weekend and then we look for a lot of things waiting for us by the end of the week." says Buh, who adds that Fridays are reserved for shared lunches.

The company in Maribor also says they offer free breakfast and snacks to their employees, and they also have fruit at all times. They organize various events, parties and excursions to try to consolidate ties and create team spirit among colleagues. Those who have pets can bring them to work. Children can also be taken to work. "We also organize protection. According to the school statement last year, we organized the protection and animation for the children in the house" says Mladic.

Maribor employees can bring their four-legged friends to work.PHOTO: Micro + Polo

As they say, everyone knows that they are jointly responsible for the success of the company. As they are very interconnected in team, they agreed to temporarily reduce their wages a few years ago to overcome the crisis.

At LanguageSitter, employees are encouraged to be active outside the company to broaden their horizons and acquire new knowledge and experience, although these activities sometimes occur during work hours. But they are aware that this does not reduce employee productivity, but rather "at most, because their motivation is greater". During work hours, they often relax the atmosphere with fun activities they do as a team. "At first glance, it's a tour that disturbs work, in fact, those moments of employees are linked to a team, which then does more work for the common goal" says Buh.

They are aware that bad working conditions and bad relationships almost certainly lead to a bad atmosphere among employees. A toxic atmosphere can reduce employee productivity and creativity. "Now more than ever, business leaders have to deal with the problem of" toxicity "in the workplace, which can make a difference in the success of retention of good employees and is decisive if the company will be successful or not with a toxic work environment – and usually the first go away " also warns Brigitte Hyacinth, speaker and author of business management books.

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