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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

If you could change one thing about the way Canadians work in 2024, what would it be?

“A move to a full-time [pay], four-day workweek,” says Aaron Thomas-Bolduc, who works for the court system in British Columbia.

Mr. Thomas-Bolduc isn’t the only Canadian with their sights set on better work-life balance.

A 2023 survey from job search and recruitment platform shows that 93 per cent of Canadians would be interested in a four-day workweek. When respondents were asked what their top three work benefits would be, besides an increased salary, 57 per cent included a four-day workweek on that list, followed by insurance benefits (52 per cent) and flexibility to choose their working hours (47 per cent). Twenty per cent included a hybrid work model in their top three.

Four-day workweek pilot programs are showing positive results both for the workers and companies. Results from a six-month trial where workers received full pay in the U.K. found business saw improved productivity, revenue, morale and team culture with decreased turnover, while workers reported lower stress, better mental health, more exercise and an easier time sleeping.

When Mr. Thomas-Bolduc started in his position about two years ago, it was set up as a 0.8 position, meaning he would work four eight-hour shifts each week.

“My quality of life, my mental health and just general enjoyment of life — it’s been terrific,” he says about working this type of schedule.

He says he is able to make it work financially, but knows that people with similar positions who work five days earn 20 per cent more. He understands that type of schedule isn’t always sustainable for people if they are not also being paid their usual full-time salary and hopes one day a four-day, 32-hour workweek will be normalized and others will be able to experience the same benefits he sees now at a five-day salary.

“It’s been a big improvement to my life to work a bit less, and I think that will be true for most people,” he says. “We spend too much time worrying about work and not enough time living our lives.”

Jennifer Reynolds is the chief executive officer of Women Corporate Directors Foundation, the world’s largest network of women corporate board directors. She says through her work with numerous board members she has seen some high-level trends she and others hope will gain momentum in 2024.

The first is stakeholderism.

She says that while boards are more typically responsible for looking after the best interest of shareholders, they are shifting to consider all stakeholders including employees, communities and others who are affected by business decisions.

“I think people are understanding that successful businesses approach their strategy and operations that way,” says Ms. Reynolds, who lives in Toronto.

Next, board members need to invest time into understanding the culture of the companies they are serving. She says it is important in terms of attracting and retaining talent, “but it can also be something you need to think about from a risk perspective, too.”

Ms. Reynolds hopes to see more boards meet with high-potential talent and create opportunities for connection that go beyond presentations and formal meetings so they can stay on top of what’s really happening in the business.

Lastly, she hopes that people continue to challenge the role and expectations of CEOs.

“You need a different type of CEO today than you needed 10 to 15 years ago,” Ms. Reynolds says. “[You need] people who have the capability to engage different stakeholders and people who have the capability to drive positive cultures.”

What I’m reading around the web

  • Carnegie Hall, a famous venue in New York, has been hosting a new kind of musical event that’s been intentionally crafted to bring people together in a way that prioritizes mental health and community. These Well-Being Concerts are one way the organization is helping create a healthier community.
  • According to this data, HR teams and executives aren’t on the same page — especially when it comes to some of the business outcomes HR teams can have an impact on including productivity, cost savings and customer satisfaction.
  • If you’re looking to refresh your resume for the new year, check out these six recommendations from Forbes so you’ll be ready when a new, exciting career opportunity pops up in 2024.
  • Preply surveyed more than 1,000 Canadian employees to reveal what they think about corporate jargon and it includes a list of the most annoying terms. Don’t put a pin in this one, you’ll want to ping all of your coworkers to see if they agree.

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