More days off: 4-day week works for Edmonton public relations agency
Interest in shorter work weeks continues to grow and one Edmonton company has successfully implemented it.
In August 2021, Shani Gwin, the founder of local public relations agency pipikwan pêhtâkwan adopted the four-day work week.
The company gives its 25 employees paid Fridays off. The employees work about 33 hours a week in a remote office setting, Gwin said.
"As long as they're available for client meetings and are meeting deadlines during the week, they can flex their hours how they want," Gwin told CBC's Edmonton AM.
Listen here |
Productivity hasn't gone down, Gwin said, as people feel more determined to earn their Friday.
"What's created is this very interesting culture where we really lean in and try to support each other," she said. "I just see more collaboration, more teamwork and actually more investment in the company."
For Matt Ward, an engagement manager with pipikwan pêhtâkwan, the shorter work week has meant he could grow his connection with his community. It also opens up time for him to work on personal projects.
"I feel like it just gives you extra flexibility," he said. "I feel like I don't have the Sunday scaries as much because I feel like I've actually had time to recover over my weekends."
Calls for shorter work week grows
Andrew Luchak, an associate professor at the University of Alberta's Alberta School of Business, said the idea of a reduced work week makes a few assumptions not all employers or employees may be comfortable with.
"With salaried employees, the assumption is they will get their regular duties done in 32 hours instead of 40 hours," he said in an email. This work represents a sustained 25 per cent increase in productivity.
But, not all employers are committed to paying employees salaries when it represents a higher fixed cost for their business.
"The alternative would be an hourly wage," Luchak said. "But to earn the same level of income, the hourly wage has to rise."
Calls for a shorter work week have been growing across the world, with many businesses and organizations testing it out themselves.
Some small towns in eastern Canada have already made the switch to the shorter week as a way to retain staff.
"We don't actually need a five-day work week," Gwin said.
"We don't really have a lot of time for ourselves in this society and the more we take time for ourselves and invest in ourselves the better our well-being."