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A 4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested In Spots All Over Canada & This Is How It's Going

"Labour-wise- it's good. Good all around."👇🇨🇦

4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested All Over Canada & Here's How It's Going
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.

After the nine-month pilot project ended in April 2021, councillors approved a policy to keep the shorter schedule in place. It is set to be revisited in another year, but officials say it's likely to eventually become permanent.

Guysborough's warden said the council is "very pleased" with the process. "We're (of) the opinion we're getting more bang for our buck hourly-wise (and) labour-wise- it's good-good all around," he told The Hawk.

The Ontario township of Zorra began testing a similar schedule in September 2020. The eight-month initiative became optional to municipal staffers, who rotate to take Fridays or Mondays off.

Don MacLeod, Zorra's chief administrative officer, told Global News in July 2021 that there had been "no complaints from staff or the public."

Scrapping the 9-to-5

It's not just towns scrapping the traditional 9-to-5, either. Last year, Ottawa-based tech consultancy firm Iversoft launched an optional four-day workweek to give staff more flexibility.

"As long as the work is getting done, manage however you want," the company's chief executive told staff when introducing the pilot program.

Similar tests are being held in Quebec, with companies like Expedibox and the David Suzuki Foundation for Quebec and Atlantic Canada offering more "productive" alternatives to the traditional five-day workweek.

What about a national four-day workweek?

In Iceland, four-day workweek trials have been ongoing for several years and the results show the program to have been an "overwhelming success."

Between 2015 and 2019, the country had two trials where people worked a reduced week with no pay reduction.

The test was so positive that now 86% of Iceland's workforce either works shorter hours or has the right to reduce their hours if they want to.

Studies say the change improved employees' well-being and work-life balance overall.

Spain is set to test something similar this year, too.

When asked in 2020 about the potential for a national four-day workweek in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "I think there are a lot of people thinking creatively about what the post-COVID world could look like."

He added, "And I look forward to hearing a wide range of suggestions. But right now, we're very much focused on getting through this particular crisis."

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.

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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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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.

Keep Reading Show less