Work-life balance is all the rage!
Another Ontario municipality is working towards a four-day workweek to create "work-life balance" for its employees.
The municipality of French River proposed a four-day workweek trial that would run from January to the end of August 2022 on November 17 and is waiting to hear back from the deciding council on December 1.
Marc Gagnon, chief administrative officer, told Narcity the proposal has already boosted morale and that seven out of their eight employees are on board with participating in the trial.
"What we're doing is we're condensing our work week from 37 and a half hours into four days rather than five. So we're working a couple extra hours a day, and at the same time, we're able to open our municipal offices five days a week for an extended half-hour every day until 5 p.m.," said Gagnon.
What the change will look like?
French River municipality employees who chose to participate in the trial will be switching their work hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, to 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday or Monday to Thursday.
This also means the public will have more access to the municipality, with opening hours extended to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week.
The trade-off for longer days will offer employees a three-day weekend. However, Gagnon does say they will be asking employees to book "personal days and appointments" on their day off to "reduce some of the absentees."
Gagnon says "people are looking forward to the trial" and that "they are always open to suggestions from the employees to see what works best for them."
What inspired the change?
Gagnon says the COVID-19 lockdowns showed them that they could "support each other" despite some of their office working remotely and that conversations evolved to wanting to "see if this would work within the four-day workweek as well."
"So we presented our findings to council a couple of weeks ago. They're voting on the trial period next week and we're looking forward to trying it out."
Inspiration for the trial was also pulled from other Ontario municipalities that have already switched to a four-day workweek.
"We've looked toward Zorra township and Aylmer township, who have implemented trials."
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.