Hyper-connectivity, information overload, “Zoom Fatigue”… The professional mental workload is exploding. But this pressure does not seem to be a problem at LDLC. Perhaps because Laurent de la Clergerie, president and founder of this group specializing in e-commerce and IT and high-tech retail in France, made a decision that transformed the face of his company: switching to the four-day week. “When I announced it, in June 2020, he explains, it instantly changed the atmosphere in the box. The faces became more smiling. While the end of the year was very busy, it was calm. We are not coming out tired from this period of health crisis.
A gentle felling
For four years, Laurent de la Clergerie has pursued a quest for well-being at work. It is the reading of Alexandre Gérard’s book, The boss who no longer wanted to be boss, causing it to topple over. “Sounded like the business I wanted to run!” He does not yet know where to put his feet, seeks to create his own model. LDLC does not operate as a freed enterprise, but autonomy is encouraged, managers become more guides than “controllers”. Filling proceeds smoothly. To build a project and help achieve a common goal, facilitators are trained who are responsible for giving everyone a voice. Three internal coaches undergo training to support people or change.
Moodwork gives employees the opportunity to take back control of their well-being at work
However, to continue on this path, Laurent de la Clergerie believes that it is necessary to go beyond the improvement of the working environment, to think about the balance in life in a more global way. A feedback on the implementation of the four-day week by Microsoft in Japan, plants a seed, reflection takes time to germinate, questions bloom. What will be the consequences for the group? How much will it cost to upgrade to 32 hours paid 35? Will the business be at risk?
The balance seriously tilts in favor of the benefits: the development of the group, which celebrates its 25 years and has 700 million euros in revenue, will ultimately go through personal development. “To reach 1 billion in revenue, the president explains, I need employees to feel good and focused on the company. I know we will get there. The priority today is good employees, the billion will be the consequence.”
Once he made the decision, he started the implementation with his teams so that all services continue to work over five days for the customer, internally or externally. Since 25 January, the 1,000 employees in the LDLC group have therefore worked four days a week. “I went to the other side of the mirror,” says Laurent de la Clergerie, who is happy to share his experience and invites you to take the leap.
“It is not happiness that gives meaning to work, but the opposite”
“Everything works as before, hiring has been linked more to growth than to the new organization. I did not expect such positive consequences, it energizes people, increases productivity. By using less fuel, we go faster and further.” The results are measurable. The company is growing, it was certified Great Place to Work in March.
In a survey conducted three months after its introduction, employees prefer the four-day week: 50.9% of respondents appreciate what they consider to be a real plus. They are 33.4% who believe that it has changed their lives. The measure also allowed women who worked 80% to look after their children on Wednesdays to regain a 100% employment contract.
These employees who switch to the four-day week
What about workaholics? “There are always speeders who drive at 180 kilometers per hour when the limit is 130! But when you lower the limit from 130 to 110, those who were driving at 180 go to 130… The pressure drops for everyone”, explains Laurent de la Clergerie, who does not hide the fact that he sometimes has to do violence to himself in order to respect this new organization.
The approach to the Lyon group LDLC challenges and interests. A good sign for Laurent de la Clergerie, who believes that the reduction of working hours to 32 hours is a false topic. “The real issue is the four-day week, with this day that we set aside for ourselves, instead of reducing the days by an hour. It allows everyone to make complicated arrangements to stall the week, to running errands, sports, daily chores or even devoting ourselves to a passion and having real weekends. Today we work less, but we don’t have more free time.” Having a day to yourself is perhaps what well-being is, even happiness!
>> Our tips for saving time at work. This is the cover of the latest issue of Management. Access this file in seconds by subscribing, from 4.49 euros per month, to the Prismashop online store
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