Four-day week saves Cork firm thousands of euro

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
Rick Livingstone, managing director at Socomore, said they had now moved to a four-day working week, working slightly longer days, after employees were saying they were unable to afford to come to work due to the rising cost of diesel and petrol

"Everyone was moaning about how much it was costing them to come to work. Some guys travel an hour and it was really hurting them to come to work," he said.

They had already moved to working slightly earlier hours to match their parent company's time in France. "A proposal was brought that would see the work days extended slightly and get the same amount of production out but not have to fire up the factory on a Friday."

Mr Livingstone said the workers and management came to the idea almost simultaneously.

Socomore, which employs 18 people at its site in Cork and has revenues of about €7 million, produces cleaning products that have special chemicals in them that allow them clean aircraft. They also provide products that help utility companies when they are cutting or combining cables. They employ a further eight people remotely.

Single shift pattern Mr Livingstone said his company was relatively lucky in that it

had only a single shift pattern, which meant it could simply finish on a Thursday evening for the week. Other companies which run 24 hours and have multiple split shifts would find it more difficult, he said.

Employees now work from 7am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and have shaved off some time from their lunch break. This means they have not seen any loss in productivity.

"We shut everything down on a Thursday night - the heating starts again on Sunday evening and we start the factory up again on Monday morning. So we are saving a full day and a half [on energy costs]."

He said they were now saving thousands of euro per month on their energy bills.

Employees had embraced the four-day week and the firm had not encountered any problems since the introduction of the scheme, Mr Livingstone said. They had also rearranged their timings in terms of deliveries and exports with couriers.

Power outages

Meanwhile, Brenda Cooper...

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