Hornbach launches “Bespoke Working Hours”

Around 11,000 employees at HORNBACH Baumarkt AG in Germany will be able to change their working hours with immediate effect and align these even more closely to their personal needs

Bornheim, September 22, 2022. It is basically the end of the rigidly structured working hours that have shaped the world of work for decades now. Starting in the next calendar year, employees at HORNBACH Baumarkt AG in Germany will be able to reduce, restructure, or increase their own working hours.

“Fixed working hours used to be dictated by machines, but now it is all about people. Our aim at HORNBACH is to attract and retain highly committed staff. To achieve this, we also have to create attractive conditions”, explains Jochen Braun, a member of the management at HORNBACH Baumarkt AG in Germany. “People’s individual circumstances vary so widely. Rigidly structured working hours hardly do justice to that. That is why we wish to enable our staff to optimally align their working conditions to their individual situations by flexibly agreeing ‘Bespoke Working Hours’”.

Reducing, restructuring, or increasing working hours as desired

The new model has five components. Three of these enable employees to reduce their working hours, for example by converting vacation pay or Christmas allowances into up to 20 additional days of vacation. Staff also have the option of working part time for limited or unlimited periods. If they wish, they can use their annual salary increase to gradually reduce the number of hours they work. A fourth component enables employees to restructure their working hours, for example by opting for a four-day week while still working full time at 37.5 hours a week. Finally, the fifth component enables employees to increase their working hours to up to 42.5 hours a week for a three, six, or nine-month period.

Benefiting from more leisure time while taking on great responsibility at work

Since March 2022, around 330 employees have taken part in the relevant pilot project. Their motivations for changing their working hours varied widely, ranging from young parents wishing to spend more time with their families to employees shortly before retirement who need more time to wind down, to employees wishing to temporarily work and earn more to finance special purchases. Overall, the pilot project met with such a positive reception that it is being rolled out across Germany just a few months after its launch. In September 2022, 11,000 employees* at the stores, logistics site, and administration departments already have the option of selecting “Bespoke Working Hours” for the following calendar year. This explicitly applies to managers as well. “At HORNBACH, we see this as a great opportunity to attract people who wish to further their careers to the company, particularly those who previously felt excluded as they did not wish to or could not work full time”, comments Karsten Kühn, a member of the Board of Management and Labor Director at HORNBACH Baumarkt AG. “That applies not only to mothers and fathers, but also to all those who simply wish to benefit from more leisure time and nevertheless take on great responsibility at work.”

*Trainees and students etc. are not eligible to participate.

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