The popular Erste Bank has introduced the option of extended work during the first four working days and shorter working days on Fridays, and HT also widened employees’ choice of arrival and departure time. How to retain workers and attract new, good quality employees is a burning question for Croatia’s employers. Could this be at least a partial answer?
One solution is flexible working hours and thus the creation of better working conditions for employees. Atlantic Group, co-owned by Emil Tedeschi, has announced that the company is considering introducing a four-day work week, which is already a popular concept in some countries.
Tedeschi suggested the idea at a summit in Belgrade, Serbia, and it immediately struck a chord with the media, despite the fact that this isn’t the first or the only solution to bypass the classic “9 to 5” working day.
Compressing five working days into four, which takes away ten hours and gives workers three days of rest, which (theoretically) reduces stress and increases productivity, was introduced by the consulting firm Logic Matrix. The Atlantic Group chief emphasised that we should not only think about how to attract a quality workforce, but also how to retain it.
“Responsible people also care about a range of amenities that include a quality work environment, a corporate culture and a good balance of leisure and work, and we’re seriously considering a four-day work week,” said Tedeschi.
Although Poslovni Dnevnik asked the company for further details about the direction in which the idea was being put into practice, corporate communications said that the statement was “widely interpreted” and could say that it was indeed being considered, but not that the idea was in the operationalisation phase yet.
They note, however, that they are already trying to ensure that working conditions within their company are as flexible as possible, such as a working day off for the first day of school or working from home in certain conditions. Although the topic is a burning issue for Croatia’s employers, the umbrella association of the Croatian Employers Association (HUP) didn’t want to comment on this mode of attracting and retaining workers.
When it comes to flexibility, the Croatian Labour Law is of course quite rigid and requires a working week of at least forty hours, but that can be moved around a little if contracted as such.
Erste already has a version of the four-day work week, although not in full form, at that bank the option is called “Short Friday”, which comes down to extended work during the first four work days and a shorter work day on Fridays.
Among other options, Erste points out that they allow employees to work less time in jobs where that type of work permits it, the possibility of part-time work, the possibility of introducing work hours with a different start and finishing time within the same organisational unit, depending on the needs of workers and job opportunities, and the “My Day” project is a flexible workplace initiative where employees are allowed to work out of the office up to four times a month.
Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom) points out that they know of the possibility of working hours that deviate from the usual five-day working week, and this possibility is incorporated in HT’s collective agreement.
“Working time flexibility is one of the most important benefits recognised by our employees, which is why we’ve recently expanded the available forms of flexible working to support the development of the digital company,” they claim from HT.
In June, they introduced the possibility of more frequent work from home through the “Friday in slippers” project, as well as more flexible daytime work, and a greater choice of arrival and departure times for those who are permitted by the nature of their jobs.
“Depending on feedback, we’ll continue to expand our capabilities. We’re aware that when it comes to attracting and retaining key talent, working time flexibility is an important element,” they say in HT.
Ina has been using flexible forms of work since 2016, with more than 1,200 workers using it today, with an average satisfaction rate of 99 percent, they say. Employees can choose “FlexiTime”, the ability to choose the start and end of the workday and the length of that day, as well as “FlexiPlace”, which is the option of working from home four times a month.