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9 in 10 Canadians interested in a four-day work week: study

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The vast majority of working Canadians are interested in a four-day work week, according to a new study conducted after several pilot programs testing the concept and suggested shorter weeks led to enhanced productivity.

The recruiting platform Talent.com says in Canada, there is a growing curiosity about this type of model, with a whopping 93 per cent saying they were interested. According to the survey, 57 per cent of Canadian would put the concept in their top three professional benefits they'd like their company to offer, followed by insurance (52 per cent) and flexibility to choose their working hours (47 per cent).

More than one in four admitted they are not equally productive on all working days, and the top reasons for wanting to try a shorter week included improving work-life balance, decreasing risk of burnout and reducing feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed.

As for what that model would look like, half of respondents said they don’t want to work more than 36 hours in a week, suggesting they were less interested in taking on a model where they'd work four, 10-hour shifts. Many surveyed appeared to prefer a model where they'd still work eight-hour days, but get a three-day weekend.

Only 8 per cent of respondents agreed that their ideal four-day work week would consist of more than 40 hours a week, and most who wanted to work fewer hours said they wouldn't be willing to take a pay cut, even if it was less than 10 per cent. The results of the study suggested this sentiment persisted regardless of income.

Adults under 35 were the most likely to consider a pay cut in exchange.

CONCERNS ABOUT FOUR-DAY WEEKS

Although most people surveyed said they'd like to try a four-day work week, nearly as many said they have concerns as well. Eight in 10 Canadians noted at least one worry about the concept – especially younger workers.

Those behind the poll said nearly half (48 per cent) are worried about being paid less, especially if they were working fewer hours. More than one-third worried they would end up working longer days, and 29 per cent said they thought they'd likely work overtime without extra pay.

Slightly more women than men said they worried about being paid less and working longer days.

REGIONAL RESULTS

While workload, work hours and pay are major concerns, a four-day work week was consistently in the top three benefits for respondents across Canada.

Breaking down the data by region, British Columbia residents asked what the best assets a company could offer them were picked insurance benefits as their top priority, more so than a four-day work.

In Ontario, more vacation days was the top pick when respondents were asked to choose the three things they'd like most. Ontario was the only province to prioritize more vacation, choosing it even above flexibility to pick their working hours.

More than half of employees in Alberta (56 per cent) and 50 per cent in British Columbia said work-life balance is the motivator for their interest four-day work week.

Having extra free time (71 per cent) on the weekend was another reason for Canadians' interest in a shorter work week, followed by time to attend personal appointments (65 per cent) and to complete household chores (59 per cent).

Others said they'd use the extra time to get another job, or to work on professional development.

METHODOLOGY

This survey was conducted by YouGov for Talent.com, among 1,003 working Canadian adults, representative of the working Canadian national population. The survey was conducted online, on the YouGov proprietary panel, from March 30 to April 6.

 

Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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