More places are choosing to adopt a permanent 4-day work week in Ontario. The municipality of French River has announced its shift to a shortened work week and so far, it has been a resounding success.
French River’s chief administrative officer, Marc Gagnon, told Curiocity in an interview that the municipality trialed the 4-day work week for 12 months before making it permanent.
The municipal office presented a plan to council and it was received with “unanimous support,” said Gagnon.
During the trail, staff were split into two groups with staggered schedules. One group worked from Monday to Thursday and the second group worked from Tuesday to Friday.
This decision sharpened the team’s communication skills so that each group was kept in the loop on what took place on their day off.
Unlike other companies that have adopted shortened work weeks, French River did not reduce the number of hours worked during the week.
Instead, they compressed a week’s worth of work into 4 days by extending the work day by half an hour and reducing their lunch break to 30 minutes.
Staff also take a single morning break and work through the afternoon.
Despite all of this, Gagnon says that 87.5% of staff are happy with the decision to make long weekends permanent.
Not only has productivity remained the same, but the improved work-life balance has led to senior staff members staying on the team longer.
In fact, Gagnon himself is 6 months past his retirement date. “The 4 day work week has helped me decide to stay on longer with the municipality,” he said.
Gagnon has called the condensed work week a “growing movement” in their industry.
He said that 20 other municipalities have gone towards the 4-day work week in Ontario.
For other businesses who want to give it a try, “it’s worthwhile to look into it,” said Gagnon. “A happy workforce is a productive workforce.”