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Desigual employees vote for four-day work week

By Simone Preuss


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The employees of Spanish fashion company Desigual have voted: In a survey in which 98 percent of them participated, the majority (86 percent in favour) said ‘yes’ to working only Mondays to Thursdays, thus reducing the working week to four days and 34 hours instead of the previous 39.5 hours.

As of last Friday, this applies to the 500 employees at Desigual headquarters in Barcelona who can also work from home one of the four days. The company had set itself the ambitious goal of gaining the support of at least 66 percent of the staff involved in the measure and the result has exceeded all expectations.

34 hours instead of 39.5

“We are very happy that this initiative has been backed by such a large majority of our employees. We knew it was a risky proposal and that it could make some hesitant, but we are confident that it will contribute to improving the work-life balance for everyone at Desigual. We are excited about the new stage that we are embarking on today, which embodies the innovative and daring mindset that has always set us apart and is shared by the whole team,” said Desigual CEO Alberto Ojinaga in a statement.

“The new work week will require an adaptation process and a unified effort, but the pandemic has shown us that we can organise work and teams in a different way and continue to be efficient by prioritising what really matters. Moreover, this initiative makes us more appealing as an organisation, which will allow us to retain and attract the best talent. We are a different, disruptive, young and optimistic company that is constantly transforming itself while not being afraid to propose new initiatives, and projects like the one that has been approved today only confirm this. We would love for the decision made today by Desigual’s employees to set a precedent and inspire other companies,” added Ojinaga.

Salary cuts of 6.5 percent for employees

Though the reduction in working hours comes at a price, it is a small one: A 13 percent cut in salaries is planned, of which the company will absorb half, meaning that employees will only see a 6.5 percent reduction of their pay.

The strategy is part of the global vision and policies of Desigual's HR department, which is committed to health and wellbeing, sustainability, equality, work-life balance and flexibility as cornerstones under the concept of ‘Awesome Culture by Awesome People’, an iteration of the long-standing motto ‘La vida es chula’ - Life is Awesome.

The initiative is part of a larger plan to offer disruptive working and work-life balance models, which also involves implementing improvements for other employees that cannot be part of this new work week due to the specific requirements of their positions, for example store staff and the sales and operations teams. It also aims to strengthen the service provided to the stores and logistics centres.