German firm tests out 5-hour work day, employees work from 8am to 1pm

Half day every day.

Julia Yeo| November 05, 04:58 PM

Imagine what the world would be like, if you could take half-day leave everyday?

Wall Street Journal recently profiled Rheingans Digital Enabler, a German consulting firm where employees work just five hours per day, 25 hours per week, from 8am to 1pm.

Fewer working hours, but phone usage restricted

Lasse Rheingans, the company's managing director, reduced the workday to five hours from the standard eight, keeping employee salaries and annual leave the same as before.

However, this comes with some conditions - employees are mandated to keep their phones away and avoid distractions such as small talk.

Employees also check their emails only twice a day, and meetings are scheduled to last no more than 15 minutes.

As such, work efficiency is maximised within the five hours, and employees can go home at lunchtime.

Challenges faced with new arrangement, but greater work-life balance

Rheingans told Wall Street Journal that the new adjustments were not all smooth, as employees were pressured to produce the same amount of work within a shorter time frame.

They also had to adjust to keeping their phones and social media away, and go without texting or calling their family during working hours.

But Rheingans is quite adamant on this management method. In a 2018 Business Insider article, he talked about what he felt was a pointless "work longer" mentality.

"In my experience, there is nothing to gain from working longer," said Rheingans, "In software development, for example, you end up making more mistakes, you have to go back over everything and in the end you invest more time than would have if you'd worked shorter hours and focused harder."

Many of his employees were happy about the changes, delivering better quality work for clients.

Employees were also able to engage in their personal hobbies, and Rheingans himself had more time to spend with his children.

The new working arrangement also proved to be economically successful to some extent, as Rheingans added that the company turned a profit in 2018, when the trial was in place.

He now implements the five-hour work day in summer months.

While some employees still work past 1pm at times to meet client deadlines, the firm says that their clients are gradually adjusting, and understand their working arrangements.

The firm's manager added:

"Some asked if we have job offers for them."

Top image via Pixabay


Content that keeps going

This event teaches you how to be your own farmer in the comfort of your own home!

A hipster's dream Europe itinerary that excludes the big major cities.

Hell is an actual place on earth, and it’s only a flight away.