alida toronto

A Toronto company tried out 4-day work weeks and this is what happened

One Toronto-based software company is choosing to extend its four-day work week structure, after introducing a pilot program in the summer of 2022. 

Toronto-based company Alida boasts 500 employees and has offices across North America in Vancouver, New York, Seattle, Edmonton, and Minneapolis. 

Between July and August 2022, Alida introduced the concept of their four-day work week pilot, which was implemented without reducing salaries or counting hours.

Through lockdowns, the company knew it needed to "double-down on listening" to employees and found that many needed more support with their mental health and work-life balance. 

"I could see mental stress, I could see challenges around work-life balance, and it seemed to be just the right thing to do at the time," Alida CEO Ross Wainwright told blogTO. 

Several other local businesses in Ontario have also given a shot at the four-day work week model as support continues to grow, with advocates citing increased productivity, and better mental health as reasons to adopt the model. 

According to Wainwright, when the company launched the pilot, they still weren't sure if it would boost employee productivity or if it would be implemented permanently. 

However, Wainwright called the pilot project a "huge success," and the company is now extending the four-day week program into what they're now branding as "Summer Fridays." 

This new program will offer Alida employees a four-day work week in the summer months, from the first week in July to Labour Day weekend. 

The program falls under Alida's new and permanent initiative called Alida Empowered, which is tied to the company's benefits program, offering employees the same flexibility as the pilot project, but with more options for staff to "do it on their own terms." 

For the remaining months of the year, the company is also introducing a "no-meeting Fridays" initiative, which encourages no internal meetings on the last day of the work week. 

According to Wainwright, this will encourage employees to use this time for any priorities, catch up on work, or make time for a personal appointment. 

Overall, the CEO said the company found that employees enjoyed the program, stating that they felt happier and more balanced. 

"The employees were so delighted because we trusted them, and that empowerment and the flexibility as a result of the program really made them really proud to be part of Alida," Wainwright told blogTO. 

However, some employees found that the program inadvertently created more stress, as getting the same amount of work done in just four days instead wasn't always possible. 

Despite some logistical challenges, the program was a great success, according to Wainwright, who said that the company had the best Q4 in its history. 

"My philosophy is if we take really great care of our employees, if we try to meet them where they are, if we trust them and we empower them, I think they're going to great work, and we're going to continue to celebrate that in the culture of our business," he told blogTO. 

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