Work smarter, not longer

Posted on June 30, 2024 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments

Eltuek Arts Centre tenant and artist Robyn Young completes a project in the New Dawn Centre Makerspace. (Submitted photo)
Proponents argue you can do more in less time with a four-day work week

It’s been the better part of two years since the Impacts Organization of Nova Scotia (IONS), an umbrella body supporting community sector organizations, joined with three, member non-profits for a pilot project testing the four-day week. Today, they continue to offer a four-day week to part or all of their operations.

The pilot included New Dawn Enterprises, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design and the Ecology Action Centre (EAC). The first three ran the pilot from June 2022 to December 2022 and the EAC from September 2022 to July 2023. Speaking with Atlantic Business Magazine this spring, leaders at each organization talked about the benefits and costs of the switch.

Since IONS is effectively an industry association, the lessons learned have since been shared with other community sector organizations in Nova Scotia, with more pilots launched. “I could probably name four or five other organizations I know of that have started to implement … It doesn’t end with us,” shared IONS executive director Annika Voltan.

There are a number of four-day work week models, such as a “compressed work week” which extends the typical workday from eight to 10 hours, with ultimately no change in the total hours worked during the week. Other variations incorporate flex time or even patterns alternating compressed and non-compressed weeks.

The IONS pilot was run on the “100:80:100” model. The figures refer to an approach wherein the employer offers to continue 100% of regular pay for fewer hours (specifically 80% of usual time), in exchange for the employees’ commitment to maintaining 100% productivity. It was thought reduced hours (i.e. a 32-hour, four-day week) would offer the participating organizations what they need most: a weapon to fight burnout and an incentive for recruitment and retention.

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