Russian entrepreneurs consider the idea of a reduced employment format for doing business utopian; most of them also do not support the division of working conditions on the basis of gender, calling it a “step backward,” representatives of the business community told TASS on Monday.
On March 11, the ombudsman for human rights in Moscow, Tatyana Potyaeva, during a round table “Women in leadership positions: achieving an equal future in the COVID-19 world,” announced that she supports the idea of introducing a four-day work week for women. She noted that her office will monitor and prepare a questionnaire to find out the opinion of the population on this issue. This is not the first time that the reduction of the work week to four days has been brought up for discussion. In October 2020, the Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev also proposed to continue discussing this issue.
Most of the entrepreneurs surveyed by TASS devote six to seven days a week to their business. Some admit the possibility of doing business four days a week, subject to “very high GDP” per capita, “excellent purchasing power” and low competition in the market, but at the same time they call this situation a utopia. “As an entrepreneur, I am not ready to work four days a week. We are involved in our business seven days a week,” said Andrei Pavlov, public ombudsman for retail in Moscow, founder of Zenden Group.
He believes that if an entrepreneur is involved in business processes, then “he will work the way his business works.” “I devote my business six days a week, I work at least ten hours every day, except for Saturday, when I have a day off. I consider the transition to a four-day week unproductive, rather, I would be glad if everyone worked at least five and a half days,” says Oksana Selendeeva, the founder of the Coddy programming school for children.
She does not believe that a “shortened” employment format can work for an entrepreneur. In business, its efficiency is important, the components of which are income and expenses, and when the staff is “inflated” with the help of numerous deputies, expenses will grow, and the margins of the business will fall before our very eyes, Selendeeva explains.
Dmitry Lesnyak, Strategic Development Director of Stroykom, works at least 50-70 hours a week, while the company itself operates seven days a week. Lesnyak admits that being able to devote three days a week to himself and his family is a good initiative, but he sees no guarantee that competitors, suppliers and customers will follow his example with the company’s transition to a four-day work week.
“Entrepreneurs are people who raise their business from scratch in order to compete with established companies in their own industry in the market conditions. Therefore, they need to work very hard, and there is not and cannot be a conversation about any standardized schedule,” said the co-founder and CEO of the educational lifestyle platform “Academy of Changes” Vitaly Krylov.
Entrepreneurs are more loyal to the option of a shorter working week for employees. However, here, according to experts, there are pitfalls. A four-day work week could be an effective tool, especially for those who work in mass vacancies and in the public sector, admits Krylov.
“People could spend an extra day off on something for themselves – not on sleep and household chores, but on things that bring them pleasure. Then people will be happier. And happy people are better workers, they are more motivated, they love their work and return to it with joy, ” said Krylov.