Companies and employees are trying to reduce workplace stress and avoid burnout by focusing on mental health and work-life balance, especially after the pandemic. The four-day work week is an attractive potential solution to these issues. Companies across Canada and the globe have seen increased levels of productivity and happier employees after the pilot programs. As impressive as the pilot results may seem, Canadians need to be clear on how it would work but would love to have a four-day work week. To understand the sentiment around adopting this model in Canada, we collaborated with market research firm YouGov to survey Canadian workers' thoughts on a four-day work week.
Benefits that Canadians want
According to the study, a massive 93% of Canadians are interested in a four-day work week, placing it in their top 3 professional benefits (57%) that can be offered by companies, followed by health insurance (52%) and the flexibility to choose their working hours (47%).
Concerns Canadians have
The study shows eight in ten have noted at least one concern with the concept, with Gen Z and Millennials more concerned than older generations. Among respondents, nearly half of them (48%) are worried about being paid less, followed by working longer days (36%) and working overtime without extra pay (29%).
More women than men are worried about being paid less (52% vs. 45%) and working longer days (40% vs. 33%), and these concerns keep growing as education levels rise.
Canadians' ideal work scenario
Over four in ten Canadians say they are not equally productive on all working days, with 50% saying that a four-day work week should consist of less than 36 hours per week. However, working between 32 and 36 hours is more popular among the younger demographic (41% - 18-34-year-olds) than those aged 55+ (29%). Canadians value work-life balance, and only 8% feel a four-day work week can consist of more than 40 hours a week.
But, when it comes to taking a pay cut in exchange for a shorter work week, only close to three in ten are willing to take an amount of less than 10%; with 18-34-year-olds more inclined (44%) compared to 35-54-year-olds and 55+ (30%), and this sentiment remains largely consistent across income groups [less than $10,000 to $29,999 (40%), $30,000 to $59,999 (35%), $60,000 to $99,999 (32%), $100,000 or more (37%)].
Reasons why Canadians want a four-day work week
Canadian employees want a four-day work week for three main reasons: better work-life balance (47%), improving mental health and avoiding burnout (20%), and reducing stress levels from overwhelming work conditions (10%), according to the report. Additionally, more women (24%) prioritized improving mental health and avoiding burnout over men (16%).
What would Canadians do with the extra day off?
71% of Canadians placed leisure & recreational activities in their top three ways of spending additional free time, followed by personal appointments (65%) and household chores (59%). Leisure was most often selected in the top 3 in Alberta (78%) and BC (75%).
More women (64%) than men (56%) ranked household chores as their top 3 activities, whereas developing a side hustle and professional development were of more interest to men (42% and 34%, respectively) than women (34% and 26% respectively).
Canadians have expressed interest in a four-day work week; 43% believe it is the next step to hybrid working.
Methodology: Survey conducted by YouGov for Talent.com among 1,003 working Canadian adults representing the working Canadian national population. The survey was conducted online on the YouGov proprietary panel from March 30th to April 6th, 2023.
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