The working time regulation at RJ Lasertechnik, which was born out of necessity during the Corona pandemic, has proved so successful that it is now becoming standard.
What began as a necessity during the acute phase of the Corona pandemic in 2020 in the form of physically separating the workforce into two halves and reducing daily working hours has now become standard at RJ Lasertechnik. The daily working time is reduced to six hours for all employees, but they still receive payment for eight hours. This working time model is economically possible due to higher hourly productivity, which compensates for the time reduction.
In order to be able to act as a company in the case of a covid infection among the employees, the workforce was divided into two work shifts with physical separation over lunchtime in September 2020. Two shifts of six hours each, with no break, were set up so that the stresses on each employee could be kept within tolerable limits. Each staff member continued to receive pay for eight hours of work. "This seemed acceptable to us for a certain period of time," explains Managing Director Ralf Risters.
Contrary to an expected economic deficit from this measure, a clear increase in efficiency could be observed among the employees. This pleasing effect led to the decision in May 2021 to keep the six-hour shifts instead of returning to the old system. However, instead of the physical separation, there is now a time overlap of 30 minutes between the shifts to allow for social contacts.
The efficiency gain of working shortened hours without a break outweighs the cost of a regular eight-hour work schedule, according to management. This finding is also in line with scientific studies. According to a publication by the Hans Böckler Stiftung, shortening working hours "results in higher productivity because performance and concentration are higher and fewer mistakes are made".