The prospect of a better work-life balance vs. quality of work possibly being hindered.
When it comes to what a four-day workweek in Canada would be like, an expert spoke to Narcity about the pros and cons that are associated with a different type of work schedule.
Andrea Bartlett, human resources director at Humi, a HR software company that supports Canadian businesses, noted that there are differing interpretations of a four-day workweek: a 40-hour workweek compressed to four days, a 32-hour workweek in four days with no change in salary or a modification of the expected hours to be worked per week.
"If companies can get to a place where they implement a 32-hour workweek in four days with no change in salary, this is what we would consider 'utopia' for employees," she said.
According to Bartlett, having a four-day workweek would increase productivity, work-life balance and better mental health for employees.
Two trials of a shortened workweek were done in Iceland and they were "an overwhelming success" with employees revealing that there were improvements in their work-life balance and wellbeing. Workers also said they were feeling more energized and less stressed after working fewer hours because they had more energy for other activities including exercise, hobbies and seeing friends.
"After a year and a half of working through a pandemic, people are working longer hours and are doing so thanks to technology," Bartlett said.
However, that means it's more difficult for employees to truly disconnect. So, a four-day schedule would allow employees to put more distance between the start and end of the working week, which would then create a better boundary between their work and home life.
"A four-day workweek comes with many challenges," Bartlett said.
One of the biggest will be setting expectations with both customers and consumers who are used to "traditional" business hours. With a change to when employees work, there will have to be new business hours and that will lead to customers and consumers having to change their habits.
Bartlett also anticipates a generational challenge between older and younger employees.
"Many senior employees have been following the same standards of work for the past 50 years. For people who rely on a strict schedule and who have other commitments, a four-day workweek could hinder their quality of work," she said.