‘Four days a week is a great experiment’: work options examined in Calgary


The four-day work week is an interesting concept that employers should be aware of, according to the president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. A six-month trial of a four-day working week significantly reduced stress and illness in the workforce compared with a five-day working week, a U.K. study has found.Calgary human resources consultant Ashey Kieboom says the four-day work week is just the next step in the evolution of working.“The world has changed. We are living in a different world than we used to live in,” said Keiboom, who is a consultant with Wendy Ellen Inc.“People are faster and much more efficient. Newer generations are coming in with so much technology. We can do now probably in seconds or minutes what used to take weeks,” Kieboom said. Story continues below advertisement 1:09 Here’s how a 4-day work week can be ‘life-changing,’ according to expert People were paid the same amount but managed to squeeze their work into four days in the U.K. study.Kieboom said she thinks people can, if needed, get mostly the same amount done in a four-day work week.“I think we are empowering employers to say: ‘Here’s what needs to be done, this is when it needs to be done,’ and to empower employees to say, ‘Yes I can do it in that in the time frame,’” Kieboom said.“It’s interesting and I would be surprised if we don’t hear more about it sooner rather than later in Calgary,” said Calgary Chamber of Commerce president Deborah Yedlin. Story continues below advertisement She said 20 per cent of Calgary businesses are offering flexible scheduling to retain employees“The demographic that is entering the workforce that has been in the workforce for two or three years already. They are saying: ‘I can’t see that happening in my lifetime,’” Yedlin said.“Some businesses would like to see people return full-time, but there’s been a lot of resistance, and so what we’re hearing is where people are settling is that three-day-a-week model with that flexible option.“If you are thinking about a four-day work week, it kind of makes sense in that broader context as well,” Yedlin said. 1:24 BC Greens propose four-day workweek pilot project Yedlin said there is clearly a shift from time-based work to task-based work, where you work where and when you want to as long as you meet your commitments and deadlines. Story continues below advertisement She said technology is an enabler that will allow us to squeeze even more work into shorter periods of time.“I think four days a week is a great experiment. If it works for you in your industry,” said Lisa Belanger the CEO of ConsciousWorks.“It’s something to really push forward and try. Even just the experience of doing my job better in less time, being more effective and efficient and taking an audit of that, that’s a great practice.”Belanger tried a four-day work week but it didn’t work for her because of child care and because her clients weren’t on the four-day plan.“In reducing hours, we have to take a look at meetings. Meetings take up almost 80 per cent of knowledge workers time and they are not done effectively,” Belanger said. 2:17 Nearly half of Canadian women would rather quit than return to office: poll The four-day week isn’t common yet in Calgary. Story continues below advertisement “I think everybody’s a little nervous to go first,” Kieboom said. “Everybody’s a little tentative on how exactly it will look. Can we trust that our employees will get that done? Is it plausible that we should have to pay for the same amount of time?”The study also found that companies’ revenue remained unchanged during the trial period.Of the 61 companies that participated in the trial, 56 said they are continuing with the four-day working week. &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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