Shorter work weeks for the same money pays off for Dutch firm Loyals

Loyals co-owner Gillian Robles
Gillian Robles, co-founder and co-owner of marketing firm Loyals. 2018LoyalsYouTube

When the owners of Dutch marketing firm Loyals told their full-time employees they would get an extra day off every week with no salary cuts, the staff was wary, to say the least. While everyone was pleased with the idea of working 32 hours weekly instead of the more traditional definition of “full time,” they could not initially understand how they could possibly finish their tasks at hand.

But as the end of said month nears everybody at the company in Mijdrecht has embraced the change, says company co-founder and co-owner Gillian Robles.

"We see that people are getting a lot of energy from their extra day off. Productivity also seems to be rising, but we do not yet have insight into actual figures," she told NL Times. "Studies into four-day work weeks also show these results, so it seems to be accurate."

Loyals were inspired to try this experiment by Perpetual Gardens, a New Zealand company which transitioned to 32-hour work weeks with positive results in 2016. She said it took significant planning and an examination of different possibilities over the course of 2019 before her firm was ready to do the same. "We announced it to the team around Christmas, and we are now working on the test month."

The 32-year-old's marketing company specializes in brand management. Started in 2016 after several businesses merged together, it now has around 100 employees at offices in Mijdrecht and Zoetermeer, as well as on Curaçao and in Colombia. All of those workers, whether they were scheduled to work 36, 38, or 40 hours weekly were all reduced down to a 32-hour week for the February experiment.

The company has documented the month with a video blog which can be followed on Youtube. “Companies were asking us how we did it, so that is why we started the vlog: to show them and everybody the positives it brings,” Robles said.

However, she said Loyals did not undertake the experiment simply to inspire other businesses to do the same. She asserted that organizations need to discover this on their own.

According to Robles it is only a matter of time before the shorter workweeks become a social norm. “The world is changing. And with that, the way we balance our work life and private life need to change too. It is not a matter of if this will happen but when.”

The company said it will announce the results of the experiment in early March. Robles said she was "98 percent certain" the reduced hours strategy would continue.