6 Reasons Canadian Companies are Embracing the 4 day Work Week

For quite some time now, employers have been seeking innovative solutions to give their organizations a competitive edge in the market. Finding unique ways to attract top talent, increase employee engagement, and continuously adapt to the everchanging employment landscape has been on top of mind for many employers.

The concept of a 4-day work week is nothing new. It has continued to gain traction among prospective job seekers and current employees looking for an optimal work-life balance. Some employers are tempted to move away from the conventional 8-hour/day, 5 days/week schedule. However, it can be daunting to implement these shorter work week ideas. The thought of implementing a 4-day work week raises a myriad of questions and considerations for employers, such as “How would implementing a 4-day work week impact my business?” or “Does a 4-day work week really work?”.

We sat down with Human Resources Manager, Jennifer Bedard, CHRP, from Robert’s Farm Equipment Sales Inc., to discuss how they, as an employer, navigated these types of important considerations during the implementation of their 4-day work week. Here’s what Jennifer had to say:

Q: Tell us about your decision to implement a 4-day work week. What made you want to consider a 4-day work week in the first place?

J: Our Company is a leader in the farming and agriculture industry. We recognize that the strong customer relations we build, and our continued success could not have been possible without our staff. They are our most valuable asset – and we wanted to provide them with a work environment that ultimately ensures success by fostering happiness and growth. A compelling solution for some of our employees was the 4-day work week.

Q: Are all employees involved?

J: No, not all employees are involved as we had to consider our store hours and services for our customers. Currently, our technicians participate in the 4-day work week schedule.

Q: What did you consider when determining the job positions that would participate?

J: We are committed to developing and maintaining the strongest possible customer relations, and we do not want this change. As I mentioned earlier, it is essential that we maintain our store hours and services for our customers. So, we developed this program for our technicians who have a bit more flexibility to run their workday.

Q: How are your hours structured?

J: To ensure seamless operations, we came up with a creative solution. We have divided technicians into two groups – Red and Blue – each working 10 hours a day. They follow a rotating shift schedule. For instance, Red team works Monday through Thursday, while Blue team works Tuesday to Friday. This ensures continuous service while allowing a 4-day work schedule.

Q: What have you found to be the benefits of implementing a 4-day work week?

J: We certainly noticed an increase in employee motivation and productivity. A 4-day work week provides employees with an extra day off to rest and recharge. It also provides them with more time for family, appointments, and personal tasks. This means a better work-life balance for the employee, which helps them come back to work with better focus, resulting in an efficient workforce.

Q: How has this impacted your ability to attract and retain talent?

J: We have found that this desirable perk has allowed us to attract and retain top talent in a highly competitive industry. It is especially beneficial for a profession that is highly in demand – like technicians. It also positively impacts our standing in the industry. We have a “4 days/10 hours” sign outside our store – many passers by even inquire about it! It definitely acts as a strong marketing tool and helps in attracting prospective employees.

Q: Did any questions arise that you hadn’t originally considered?

J: One of the first challenges we encountered was regarding scheduling, which prompted us to create the two teams I mentioned previously. There are also some health and safety concerns to consider. For example, what kinds of working alone procedures are required to ensure the safety of individuals working alone during their 10-hour shift? Additionally, we also had to keep in mind the implications of stat pay and time in lieu.

Q: Has this change to a 4-day work week been a success?

J: Yes, without a doubt! So far, a 4-day work week is a hit with our technicians. It is definitely a great option to consider if business operations permit.

Figure 1 Source: Statistics from 4 Day Week Global https://www.4dayweek.com/

Robert’s Farm Equipment Sales Inc. are one of many organizations trialing a 4-day work week model. 4 Day Week Global, the world’s leading 4-day work week research organization have spearheaded 4-day work week research programs with hundreds of organizations across the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada etc. 4 Day Week Global have documented that 91% of organizations that participate in their 4-day work week trial chose to continue their 4-day work week even after their pilot program ends. Based on their research, 4 Day Week Global have identified the following positive impacts to businesses that are able to adopt a 4-day work week:

  1. Enhanced Productivity
  2. Better Work-Life Balance
  3. Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
  4. Improved Employee Well-Being – A 4-day work week can help employees feel less burnt out and stressed, which may contribute to better mental health.
  5. Environmental Impact – An overall decrease in energy consumption is bound to be noticed with an extra day off. It also helps in reducing carbon emissions as fewer days to commute means fewer cars on the road.
  6. Reduction in Operational Costs – Companies save costs as not all employees are coming in 5 days of the week. This includes savings on office supplies, utilities, and maintenance expenses.
Important considerations to make before implementing a 4-day work week:    
  1. Is it possible to implement a 4-day work week given the nature of work being performed at your organization or the industry you operate in?
  2. What will the impact be on customer satisfaction or the delivery of goods and services?
  3. Can all employees participate? If not, how will this be managed?
  4. Will there be health and safety considerations?
  5. Which 4-day model will you adopt? I.e., an employee’s regular hours condensed into 4 days? Or 80% of the hours for the same pay/reduction in pay?

As employers continue to navigate innovative employment trends, a 4-day work week may be an option an organization may take to create a more balanced, sustainable, and productive workplace. Whether to adopt a 4-day work week is highly specific to each organization and its unique environment and requires a lot of planning and upfront consideration.

Still have questions about the 4-day work week? Reach out to a member of our team today for assistance – we are happy to consult with you on the considerations of this option for your business.