A BC city is launching a year-long four-day workweek pilot for staff

Sep 23 2022, 9:57 pm

A BC city is launching a four-day workweek pilot, making the rest of the province jealous.

City staff in Merritt, BC, will participate in the four-day workweek pilot for an entire year.

According to a report, concerns about retention and morale are the primary reasons for initiating this pilot.

A few different options were being considered by Merritt staff before deciding to go with a four-day workweek. One of those options was opening City Hall for fewer days but extending the hours of operation on those days.

“Staff considered a 4-day work week model that extended hours while remaining open on Monday-Friday. While this would have drastically increased the number of hours available if feasible, the City doesn’t have sufficient staff in customer-facing roles to maintain coverage through periods of vacation,” reads the report.

The newly proposed hours for Merritt City Hall to be open to the public are Tuesday to Friday, 8 am to 5:45 pm; the current hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

“Both options result in 35 hours of service to the public when considering a lunch hour closure.”

How it benefits residents

According to the report, the proposal benefits residents of Merritt, which has a population of just over 7,000 people.

City Hall would be open a half hour earlier and 15 minutes later so that services would be accessible during a broader period for residents.

“This would help residents who need to come to City Hall to conduct business, for example, paying their taxes or meeting with staff.”

How it benefits the City

Staff turnover was one of the key reasons Merritt decided to initiate this pilot.

The report states that Merritt has been experiencing “significant turnover.”

“While some turnover is healthy, too much turnover is extremely damaging for an organization, particularly when losing highly productive employees and senior management.”

The implications are that knowledgeable employees are leaving the City, which means the organization loses experience and knowledge. This, in turn, creates more costs for Merritt, which needs to spend more money training new staff.

Workplace wellness has also been a concern for Merritt, including fears of burnout.

“We anticipate that an extended workday with a compressed workweek will improve wellness among staff, leading to increased morale and productivity.”

The four-day workweek’s status in Canada

According to a report from earlier this year, most Canadians want a four-day workweek with the same pay.

While the organization doesn’t disclose which Canadian companies are currently participating, we already know some workplaces in the country that have officially switched to the four-day workweek.

In January, Juno College of Technology officially switched to reduced days with no changes in vacation or pay. Last year, Montreal video game studio Eidos also made the switch, announcing that their offices would be closed on Fridays.

Most recently, Toronto tech firm Alida announced their four-day workweek pilot program, which will kick off this summer.

Some politicians are also on board. Last year, Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario Liberals, said he would look into the idea of a four-day workweek if elected next year.

With files from Isabelle Docto

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