Are you asking yourself, “What’s all the hype about a 4-Day Work Week”? Have you seen the headlines and not had time to read the details? Are you interested in learning more or understanding how it could apply to your organization? As Canada’s Flexible Work Expert, we will answer these questions and more.

What is the 4-Day Work Week?

In the most basic sense, a 4-day work week is exactly that. 4 days of work rather than 5. It also means 32 hours of work rather than 40.

Perpetual Guardian’s 4-Day Work Week

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand firm which manages trusts, wills and estates ran an experiment with its 240 staff in March and April this year. Two researchers were asked to measure the impact on staff. The results included:

  • Employees claimed a 24% improvement in work-life balance from 54% to 78% (Source)
  • Supervisors stated “staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks” (Source)
  • Workers said the change motivated them to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office:
    • Meetings were reduced from two hours to 30 minutes
    • Employees created signals for their colleagues that they needed time to work without distraction. (Source)
  • Job stress declined from 45% to 38% (Source)
  • Productivity didn’t fall

Perpetual Guardian is now working with their HR team to understand how to implement it in a more permanent fashion that aligns with New Zealand labour laws.

More details about the Perpetual Guardian program are available online.

4-Day Work Week vs. Compressed Work Week

Many organizations have attempted a 4-day work week by implementing a compressed work week. With a compressed work week, employees are still expected to work the same number of hours (E.g., 40), but over 4 days rather than 5. This allows them the benefit of three days off, but does not challenge them to be more productive and efficient with their time.

Could a 4-Day Work Week Help Canadians?

We believe that a 4-day work week would be beneficial to Canadians if implemented well.

Pros of a 4-Day Work Week

  • Increase in employee satisfaction and work-life balance
  • Decrease in employee work stress
  • Employees have additional time away from the office for the things that are important to them
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increase in internal efficiencies and productivity

Cons of a 4-Day Work Week

  • Other sectors don’t operate on a 4-day work week, such as the school system (Source)
  • Risk to becoming stressful if productivity doesn’t improve and employees are expected to do the same amount of work in less time
  • Challenging to implement in an organization where employees already work considerable overtime
  • Complexities related to compensation, including vacation entitlement  (Source)
  • Not applicable for all roles or all industries

How to Implement a 4-Day Work Week

As Canada’s flexible work expert, we can help your organization evaluate whether a 4-day work week is a good option for your business. If it isn’t, we have lots of other creative ideas for developing flexible work programs and are confident that we can help you build one that matches your culture and goals.

Work Evolution is Canada’s flexible work expert. We offer our clients the following services:

  1. Flexible Work Programs. We work with organizations to define, implement, and measure flexible work programs that support their objectives and culture.
  2. Recruitment Solutions. We recruit and hire talented professionals for flexible work roles.
  3. Workshops and Seminars. We are passionate about flexible work and share what we know. We provide workshops and seminars for an organization’s staff, managers, or human resources team.

Please contact us today if you are interested in learning more about how we can help your organization.