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Here Are The Pros & Cons Of A 4-Day Workweek In Canada According To An Expert

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

"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.

An Expert Says These 8 Steps Will Help Canada Move Towards Having A 4-Day Workweek

"I have yet to hear of bad results during the trial stages - this might mean that a 'utopia' isn't as far away as we might think," Andrea Bartlett said.

With some companies and municipalities testing out or permanently implementing a four-day workweek in Canada, an expert has revealed eight steps that can help move the country away from the Monday to Friday 9-to-5.

Narcity spoke with Andrea Bartlett, who is the human resources director of Humi, an HR software company that supports Canadian businesses, and she said that companies will have to take charge of setting up a four-day workweek that's best for them. However, policies around a shorter workweek would need to be implemented by governments for there to be "real change."

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Leo Bruce Hempell | Dreamstime, Wouter | Unsplash

Every weekend is a long weekend for employees in Canada testing a four-day workweek! Towns and individual companies across the country are trialling the change and in many cases, it seems to be going pretty well.

Back in 2020, the Nova Scotia municipality of Guysborough began testing out a four-day workweek for employees in the town. Per the schedule, approximately 60 municipal employees took either Monday or Friday off every week.

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The results of four-day workweek trials in Iceland are in and the experiment was "an overwhelming success" with improvements in work-life balance and wellbeing.

From 2015 to 2019, the country had two trials where people worked a reduced workweek of 35 to 36 hours and had no pay reduction. It was such a success that now 86% of Iceland's workforce either works shorter hours or has the right to reduce their hours.

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