In a perfect world, the time we spent doing things we love would pay off our bills and balances – but most of us burn a steady 9 to 5 in an office chair. Change, however, might be in the wind for some Canadians feeling burnt out – but no one solution fits all.

The pandemic not only opened our eyes to just how many people struggle with washing their hands – it forced us to look at our work-life balance… or, lack thereof.

By now, you may have seen headlines, blog posts and Tweets about the introduction of a 4-day work week by companies all over the country, but how realistic is it in Alberta?

First, we have to look at what exactly the 4-day work week would entail, how it works and what the benefits are.

Hazel Gavigan, the Campaigns Officer for the non-for-profit organization, 4 Day Week Global, says that the concept was based on the 100-8-100 Model, in which workers receive 100% of the pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the outcome; but she clarifies.

It’s not about working harder, it’s about working more efficiently.


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“Research has shown that productivity can be maintained, or interestingly, even increased by working a 4-day week. Studies also show that 2 to 3 hours every day are lost due to badly structured meetings, by poor technology implementation and distractions. If you look at refining those three key areas, you can save up to 20% of your time.”

Now, while this sounds doable, there are things to take into consideration before approaching your boss about implementing such a change; mainly, your industry, whether your company can still be compatible with others, and how you’re going to spend your days off.

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Lisa Belanger, behavioural change expert and CEO of ConsciousWorks told Curiocity that she actually tried the 4-day workweek, but found it difficult to maintain.

“We deal so much with external clients and they weren’t practicing it, so it became a bit more challenging,” she said – later adding that those in health care, Alberta’s agriculture and oil and gas sectors may also find it difficult due to their unique nature.


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In addition, she found that she and her employees kept falling back into their old routines.

“We have a whole population, especially younger people who are so digitally connected that are so on all the time, and then we’re like – oh yeah, here are three days off,” she said.

“If it is for your mental well-being, we need to talk about recovery. How do we effectively let our brains recover from stress and work? Those are questions that I’m exploring from a research perspective but also, I don’t think we have the answers – and it’s really important questions if we are going to change the way that work is done.”

Basically, while it might be good and fun at first – a lot of us could end up working out of boredom or habit because we don’t know any different, which is why she suggests an alternative 6-hour workday, 5 days a week, instead.

If of course, you believe in your ability to leave it at all the office a day early – companies like 4-Day Week Global are there to help you along your way, especially if you’re actively looking to hire new employees. As Gavigan pointed out, there’s nothing like the promise of a shorter work week and the same pay to get people in the door!


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In summation, the 4-day work week is still a new concept and there’s a lot that you need to take into consideration – but whether you implement it is up to you.

With so many Albertans working on oil rigs, farms and in healthcare, it likely won’t be everyone’s new normal – but employers everywhere are seeing the benefits of change.

Post-COVID burnout is real, people are stressed – and for many, the idea of putting work first always – is practically fossilized; so here’s to the future, whether that looks like a 4-day work week, a 6-hour work day, or something else. We’re all in this together.