A BC Company Started A 4-Day Workweek Months Ago & The CEO Says Profits 'Skyrocketed'

The four-day workweek has been sweeping through Canada, being tested out by a ton of different companies, including this B.C law firm.

The CEO of YLaw in B.C., Leena Yousefi, decided to implement a four-day workweek six months ago, and she told Narcity that the company isn't going back.

Yousefi gave some insight into the magic that is a reduced workweek and her biggest takeaways from trying it.

She explained that it all started about eight years ago, when she started getting migraines at work and anxiety, and a migraine expert told her she needed to cut down on working.

YLaw

As a lawyer, she had a demanding job, and her employers weren't happy about her reducing a day. She said: "They cut my pay immediately by 20%."

She quickly realized that she was more productive, though, with four days.

"I was exceeding my targets," she said, "I was happier, and all-around I was performing a lot better."

When she started her own law firm, she had to shift to working seven days a week. Then she had a baby and went back to the four-day workweek.

Right away, she said that "all the benefits came back." Realizing the power of the reduced workweek, she decided to try to do the same for her team.

She was prepared for the worst, ready to lose 20% of her profits, she said. But with the hope that her employees would be happier and more loyal, the "long term benefits seemed to outweigh the short term pain or loss," she explained.

What happened

Not only was there no loss, but there were also unexpected profits.

"What's been magical about it is that they've all been performing better than they did working five days a week. As a result, on the employer side, our revenues have skyrocketed," she said.

The company has doubled in size and, in terms of employees, "the uniform response is just that they're just generally happier. Because they're happier, they are more productive," she added.

They actually tend to take about 70% of the day off, then still spend about 30% of the day addressing work matters. But she said that it's the flexibility of it that's key.

On the company website, you can see photos of the employees enjoying the extra day off by doing self-care activities, like meditating.

YLaw

They also get to spend extra time with their families.

YLaw

"The concept of four-day workweeks isn't black and white," she says, "it's about the psychology behind it. It's about the choice. The ability to take all of that one day, or some of that one day, off."

Because employees are so happy, they are also loyal and don't want to leave the firm, she added.

Overall, she said that they've "seen absolutely nothing except benefits."

How it works

The YLaw office actually still stays open five days a week.

Yousefi didn't want to make her employees work 10 hours a day to compensate for the lost day, so instead implemented 9 hour days with an hour break, and she took the other 10% of hours as a '"loss".

The majority of employees take Wednesdays off, and they have two people at the office on that day who answer the phone and alert the lawyers of urgent matters. Those two people usually take Fridays off, said Yousefi.

"It works seamlessly for us," Yousefi said.

They tested it as a pilot project in the beginning, where for the first month they took Wednesdays off, and then the second month took Fridays off. At the end, Yousefi sent out surveys, and the majority voted to keep Wednesdays off.

She said that when they took Fridays off, they would come into work with a pile of stuff to attend to on Monday, after being out of the office for three days straight.

When you do Wednesday, she said, "you're really tending to one day of inquiries," and "as far as the client experience goes, there's really no interruption," because you can get back to them Thursday morning.

When asked if she believes other companies are going to follow her lead, Yousefi said: "I have no doubt that they will," and she's here to "show them that it works."

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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