Appeal of four-day work week increasing amid COVID-19
KITCHENER -- The COVID-19 pandemic has more Canadians considering the advantages of a four-day week.
A new poll released by the Angus Reid Institute said 53 per cent of respondents thought a four-day, 30-hour work week was a "good idea."
"Just over half of Canadians do support the idea, they say it's a good idea," Shachi Kurl with the Angus Reid Institute said. "That represents twice as many [than] who say it's a bad idea."
Twenty-two per cent of respondents said it was a "bad idea," and 25 per cent didn't know.
The survey found the interest in the shortened work week is because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"So many Canadians [are] out of work, so some people who support the idea say that it would be a good way to get more people working, reintroduce them back into the workforce to spread the number of working hours around," Kurl said.
Nita Chhinzer, a human resources professor at the University of Guelph, said during the pandemic, people have been thinking more carefully about how they want to spend their time.
"I think the entire relationship we have with work is under a very unique scrutiny from us," she said. "During this pandemic, everything around us feels like it’s in the abyss, feels like it’s in the unknown. We’re stopping to introspect."
Chhinzer added the shorter work week could make employees more productive. She noted Microsoft Tokyo piloted a four-day work week and productivity increased by 40 per cent.
Reduced hours could mean reduced pay.
But, according to the survey, most people are OK with that.
"It gives them more work-life balance," Kurl said.
The institute last polled Canadians in 2018, when 47 per cent said it was a good idea and 31 per cent thought it was a bad idea. Twenty-two per cent were undecided in 2018.