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

Two weeks ago, we looked at the benefits and challenges of a four-day work week from the employee perspective, but most employees don’t make the decision. So, we asked two executives why they decided to transition their company to a four-day work week and to share ideas other leaders should consider when considering the change.

Maysa Hawwash is the founder and CEO of ScaleX, a human resources company that helps organizations accelerate growth.

Her company officially implemented a four-day work week in February after piloting the program. She said the team had multiple discussions before arriving at a final decision.

“Being an HR firm, we are always keeping up with workplace trends, and the four-day week was a big trend that we kept an eye on,” she said. “We simply discussed the option internally and since everyone was in favour, we tested it and finally implemented it.”

The company also decided to shift to a 35-hour week, “rather than squeezing 40 hours into four days,” she added.

Employees are still paid their full-time salary, under the expectation that everyone is accountable to their deliverables. Plus, there is flexibility in which day employees are able to take off, although most take Friday.

Arezoo Najibzadeh is the founder and managing director of Platform, a national youth-led nonprofit organization that builds leadership capacity among young Black, Indigenous, and racialized women and gender-diverse youth to advance gender equity and justice.

Ms. Najibzadeh says the company implemented a four-day work week at the same time they transitioned from a grassroots non-profit organization to a workplace with full-time employees.

“This is a decision I made before even hiring our first staff member and I can’t imagine our workplace any other way,” she said.

“A 40-hour, five-day work week simply did not work for us,” Ms. Najibzadeh said. “We can still honour our responsibilities while prioritizing rest, and we prefer to focus on the value we bring to our work and communities instead of using time to measure our achievements.”

Employees at the company work Monday to Thursday and have separate sick and personal days.

Both founders have tips for other companies thinking about a four-day work week:

  1. Start with a pilot. Ms. Hawwash said that piloting the four-day work week at your organization is the best way to get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. Then, you can continue to iterate until you find a flow that works for your business and your employees.
  2. Prioritize improving your relationship with work and results. “Building something great takes time and requires readjusting our relationship to time and results. As long as everyone on the team is on board with the goals and values of a project, you can make it work,” Ms. Najibzadeh said, noting this does not mean forgetting deadlines, as everyone is still responsible for their commitments.
  3. Create a culture of high trust. “This culture shift for some organizations might be an obstacle, so a lot of work needs to get done to create a culture of trust and ownership versus tasks and hours worked,” Ms. Hawwash said. She also advises leaders be mindful of sending work emails or requests on days off, as it can cause stress and confusion for employees.

What I’m reading around the web

  • If you’re heading back into the office soon, your four-legged friends may have some trouble adjusting. Read on for tips from the Calgary Humane Society on how to make the transition easier, and how you can help reduce separation anxiety for both you and your pet.
  • From ceasing the sale of products to pulling investments, companies in Canada and around the world are taking a stand in reaction to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Here’s a list of how companies like TELUS, Canada Goose and AIMCo are taking action.
  • If you didn’t take a break at some point in your career, you likely know someone else who did – especially during the pandemic. Early this month, LinkedIn introduced a feature that allows users to add a career break to their profile and outline what they learned during that time.
  • Did you know that, historically, B.C. has one of the widest wage gaps in Canada, with 2018 data showing that women made 18.6 per cent less than men? The good news is that the province is now in the initial stages of bringing in pay transparency legislation that can help mitigate this issue.

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