Since June 29, around 150 employees at Tobit.Software in Ahaus, Westphalia, have had every Wednesday off – without having to work more or earn less on other days. In a guest post, the company boss explains the reasons for this.

If you think about what we wealthy people in a country like Germany lack most, then from my point of view it is: time. In the past decades we have managed to be economically independent. Thanks to digitization, we have access to all the knowledge in the world. At work, we are increasingly supported by technological helpers. But what feels more like less than more is time.

In my perception, this feeling has increased significantly over the past two to three years – for the following reasons: Since the pandemic, we have been increasingly merging the areas of work and private life into a digital hamster wheel, from which we only get out on days off – but not at the end of the day – let them get out. At the same time, we need more and more time to network digitally, stay in touch with friends and use other digital opportunities. This is proven by looking at the “Screen time” section in the smartphone settings, according to Bitkom this has grown by two hours a day.

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Tobias Groten founded the company 35 years ago and is still CEO of Tobit Software today

I am amazed at this faintheartedness. Why could we advertise a five day work week in the 70’s and 80’s when everything has to stay the same today? Why did it say back then “Saturdays Papa belongs to me” and not today “Wednesdays Mama and Papa belong to me, their health and their creativity?” And addressed to us as a company: Why have we at Tobit.Software been preaching how much digitization has been for 35 years turns the world of work and our lives upside down and are still stuck in the same endless loop?

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My team and I asked ourselves these questions and decided: We’ll do it differently now! Everyone in our team gets a free day. Without consideration. Without any obligation. To sleep in, enjoy life, meet people. To do something for the head, for the body – for yourself or for others.

Economically and culturally, we have long been able to afford to break out of the 5-day week. We compensate for the 20 percent reduction in performance that occurs mathematically through extreme digitization. And who says it will ever happen. I believe that if we now turn 52 long, tough sections of a year into 104 short, crisp ones, it could have a completely different effect. It is quite possible that we will not only work in a more focused and fresher way, but also at a faster pace without overheating. Then the additional day off will even benefit the company: Because we are happier, more rested and more balanced. Because we notice more and then also help shape it.