Feb 11, 2024

A Four-Day Workweek: Is the Czech Republic Ready?

Prague Morning

Prague Morning

The four-day workweek is gaining traction across Europe, with Germany leading the charge through a nationwide pilot program involving dozens of companies.

While this trend might seem alluring, the Czech Republic finds itself at a crossroads, unprepared for full-scale implementation due to unique economic and cultural factors.

Currently, enjoying a four-day workweek remains a rare privilege in the Czech Republic. Only a handful of companies offer it, and even then, with obstacles. “This benefit comes with demanding performance targets,” warns Dagmar Rottová, sales director at Citfin.

Psychologist Jan Lašek echoes this concern, highlighting the potential strain on “memory, attention, and overall concentration” under a condensed schedule.

Additionally, industries like construction and service sectors seem ill-equipped for such a shift. “It’s simply impossible for us,” says a café and bakery owner. “We’re open seven days, and hiring more staff wouldn’t be financially viable.”

Official recognition or government-led trials are absent in the Czech Republic. The perceived limited applicability, primarily benefiting office workers, further complicates matters. “Sales, dealerships, and call centers are some roles where this system might work,” confirms Rottová.

For Jiří Halbrštát, a labor market expert, success hinges on “internal company adjustments, like boosting productivity or automating tasks, to maintain output while offering employees more free time.”

Germany’s experiment attempts a universal four-day workweek, albeit voluntary currently. If it demonstrates success, it could become the norm.

German employees retain their full salaries during the shorter week, while some Czech companies offer reduced pay with a shorter schedule.

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