41 Companies Tested Out The 4-Day Workweek & Here's Why None Of Them Are Going Back

The success of this pilot program is hard to ignore 👀.

An employee at the Juno College of Technology. Right: An empty chair pushed out from a desk.

An employee at the Juno College of Technology. Right: An empty chair pushed out from a desk.

Another test of the four-day workweek has delivered some overwhelmingly positive results for employees and companies alike across Canada.

In this latest pilot of the compressed workweek, a total of 41 companies in North America tried it out for six months and, after reporting sizeable gains on everything from revenue to employee satisfaction, the test resulted in a 100% satisfaction rate.

That means all 41 of these companies have said they have no intention of going back to the so-called 'normal' five-day workweek.

"The evidence is in – shorter working weeks lead to happier and healthier employees, and the organizations that they work for are better positioned to attract and retain talent," said Joe O'Connor, the head of the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence, in a statement.

This trial of the four-day workweek was led by O'Connor, who created the very first four-day workweek pilot program in Ireland in 2021, alongside Boston College and the non-profit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global.

It screams of more success for the business model that values the work that can be done when employees have a better work-life balance.

"Through a commitment to operational excellence and a culture of continuous improvement, they can also create more productive and efficient businesses," O'Connor continued. "There's a real and significant opportunity for ambitious, imaginative leaders to be at the forefront of this change and differentiate themselves from the competition."

In this particular trial, companies within several sectors participated including those in public relations and tech.

While the shortened workweek is widely recognized as mainly an employee benefit, one of the standout results from this trial was the 41 companies that participated saw a combined revenue increase of 15%.

From the employee side of things, the data showed worker burnout was reduced by 17%, while mental health improved by that same figure and physical health climbed 12%.

Adding to that, life satisfaction for employees was up 16%, with work-life balance jumping a sizeable 35% for workers trying out the four-day workweek.

And when it came to hours worked, the average fell from 38 to less than 33 over 12 months, while work intensity also dropped 2%.

With these undeniably successful results, it's no surprise to see how employees who tried the four-day workweek now feel about the prospect of having to work five days a week again.

"The value of the shorter working week to employees is powerfully expressed by the fact that 45% would require a pay increase of greater than 25% to return to a regular five-day schedule," reads the press release that details the pilot project. "An additional 14% stated that no amount of money would induce them to go back to a standard five-day week."

Praxis, a Toronto-based public relations company, was one of the 41 North American companies to take part in this pilot project, and the company shared its own individual data related to its test of the four-day workweek.

"Our four-day workweek trial was a resounding success with employees sharing an amazing 51% increase in time spent doing what matters most and a 42% increase in work-life balance," said Matt Juniper, an Associate Partner and General Manager at PRAXIS, in a statement. "As a business owner, it has been impactful to see employee satisfaction increase while simultaneously seeing a 25% reduction in time taken off for personal and sick days and 15% less time spent on internal and administrative tasks."

In an Instagram post, Praxis shared some of the techniques that contributed to the success of its four-day workweek pilot including cutting down on internal meetings, calendar blocking, and implementing a "better project management tool."

Overall, Praxis shared employee work time was reduced by 13%, with a goal of eventually attaining the model of "100% of work in 80% of the time for 100% of the pay."

Juniper added that these results have led to Praxis choosing to expand its four-day workweek by another six months so the company can "assess profitability and performance over a full year" and said, pending those results, the company plans to make the compressed workweek permanent.

The four-day workweek is growing in Canada

This successful pilot of the four-day workweek mirrors the examples of many other companies across Canada that have also tried it out for themselves.

Several municipalities across Canada offer the option of a four-day workweek, depending on the role, while many of the companies to try it out have similarly decided to make the compressed workweek the new normal. Meanwhile, several of these businesses continue to hire new talent and many of them also offer great salaries.

On top of that, there's no denying the interest of employees, with a recent survey of around 1,000 Canadians conducted by Talent.com revealing 93% are interested in the four-day workweek.

But while there is growing evidence from both the employer and employee side of things that the four-day workweek can indeed work in Canada, there is also the reality that it may not be a one-size fits all problem for every company.

Narcity spoke with one company earlier this year that tested out the compressed workweek and found it wasn't for them.

"There were a lot of folks that loved the pilot ... the results did show a lot of positives," said Tanya Jarrett, the Chief People Officer of software company, Alida. "But also it showed that it didn't work for everyone at Alida. There were some folks who were telling us that the program inadvertently created more stress, because for some of them, getting their work done in just those four days wasn't always possible."

Instead of sticking with the compressed workweek, Alida now offers its employees unlimited vacation, and Jarret later spoke to Narcity about exactly how that policy works.

So will the four-day workweek become everyone's new normal? Despite the ongoing success of these pilot projects, probably not.

But for some industries, that is possible.

Even Jamie Savage, the founder of The Leadership Agency (one of the first Canadian companies to go public with its adoption of the four-day workweek) admits it's not a silver bullet.

"I don't know if this is going to be something that all companies do," Savage told Narcity. "I think you'll see more and more companies piloting this (...) Change is really the only constant in this future of work."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.