40 working hours: the only way to go?


Ismael talks with Carlos Hernández of Quaderno about time, happiness and how a different way of working is possible:

They say that the first step to achieving happiness is to believe that you have the right to create your own definition of happiness. Because although it’s a shared goal — I mean, who doesn't want to be happy —, our projects as individuals, as teams and as companies are different and so are our paths. Today I’ll share part of Carlos' and Quaderno's journey. Read until the end because the story of this software company that has been profitable for more than 20 years with a SaaS while working 25 hours a week is golden.

Our purpose, making people happier at work, is realized in multiple ways, both for the Soluble team and for our customers. In fact, there are as many ways as there are people. One of the most recurrent, however, is to look for another way of understanding work. A way that fits the context and the reality of different organizations and teams: flexibility, autonomy, hybrid work, full remote, intensive hours, productivity bands…

I've spoken before about how we strive to ensure that our work contributes to a fulfilling life, to be happy both inside and outside the working day. And in our constant search, we like to surround ourselves with inspiring examples — people, companies and teams — who seek their own definition of happiness and write their own rules.

Interesting and inspiring is the perspective of our admired Carlos Hernandez, CEO and founder of Quaderno. His software, developed remotely but with a good part of the staff in Las Palmas, automates tax management in online transactions to eliminate the stress and confusion that often surrounds this sector. It greatly reduces the hours that companies — or rather, people in companies — have to spend figuring out how to charge VAT depending on the country where they sell. In other words, they give the gift of time. Time for their customers to spend on growing their businesses, time to focus on the work that is most valuable to them. Time to be happier.

It’s no coincidence that more than 10,000 companies already trust them. Nor is it a coincidence that the Quaderno team also lives by this: they work 25 hours a week. "We decided to work 25 hours a week because we don't measure efficiency by the number of hours we spend sitting in a chair, but by the quality of those hours," Carlos says when I ask him to tell me about his experience. "If you remove the absurd meetings, break times and impromptu conversations from an ordinary working day, you're left with four or five hours of really productive work.”

For him, "what makes no sense is to stick to the same time patterns as 100 years ago". And I couldn't agree more. More flexible and shorter working days in companies with task and goal-based work are, for more and more businesses, a natural consequence of this way of understanding work and also life. Some have already tried the four-day workweek experiment, which can have a positive impact on the company's profitability. None of these solutions is perfect for all organizations, I know, each one has to find its own. Each one has to conquer its own freedom.

But what’s absolutely proven is that people work at their best when they have control over their schedules. Because that means being able to attend to their biorhythms, responsibilities and hobbies. In many cases, it also means being more productive. But that's not the only important thing: "Are we going a little slower than if we worked 40 hours a week? Maybe. It's not a problem for us. For us, it's fundamental to have a life outside the work environment. To work to live, not live to work.”

I’m convinced that we are not alone, that Carlos is just one of the examples that represent that another way of working is possible and that yes, we can be happier at work.