four day work week canada

Toronto company implements a four day work week with surprising results

A four-day work week brought surprising results for a Toronto company, and they now have no plans to return to the norm.

The idea to make all weekends long weekends came last fall, Jamie Savage, CEO and founder of Toronto-based recruitment company The Leadership Agency, tells blogTO. At the time, Savage hadn't researched how the shortened week was working in other places in Canada and around the world.

"The truth is, we didn't read anything, or see any of our peers doing it. So we weren't basing this on an example," Savage tells blogTO.

Instead, the decision to make a change came out of a desire to improve the lives of employees, herself included.

"We felt overworked, and we felt directly impacted by the change all around us," she says.

At the time, they already had half-day Fridays, so they just moved to a full day off.

They didn't change wages or vacation time.

"We didn't ask for anything in exchange, we didn't say to our employees, 'we're going to decrease your salary or ask for vacation days in advance, or in an exchange.'," said Savage. "So we were able to allow them to be productive and manage their time however they saw fit and take the extra day and invest in themselves."

The company, which started five years ago and now has a staff of nine, actually saw an increase productivity and has expanded its business to the UK and New York in the wake of the change.

"People became really effective in their time management, our revenue slowly started to increase. And now we've more than doubled our revenue, we've expanded into two new markets."

But more importantly, the employees greatly benefited.

"This allows people to have more time to invest in themselves," she says. "Whether that is improving their well-being, their mental health, whatever it is that they want to do, they can do."

Since The Leadership Agency implemented the change, Savage has heard from other companies looking to do the same. She says the idea "isn't a one-size-fits-all" and that there could be variations that might work better in other industries.

"Whenever I get asked about advice on it, or what did we do, I think the consistent message here is that if you're going to do it, great but…the key to success is don't ask for anything in exchange," she says.

"Don't make employees feel like they have to give up something for something, you know, pay them the same salary, give them the same vacation time, but make this a true benefit to them into their lives."

Lead photo by

The Leadership Agency

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