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'Am I dreaming?': Toronto company to pilot four-day work week without 10-hour days

The senior leadership team at PRAXIS. (PRAXIS/Handout) The senior leadership team at PRAXIS. (PRAXIS/Handout)

A Toronto company is testing out a four-day work week pilot for six months starting in October, and employees are not expected to work 10-hour days to make up for the lost time.

PRAXIS, a marketing communications agency, announced it will be joining the 4 Day Week Global trial, along with 59 other North American companies.

“I've always felt quite passionately about the need for work-life balance and felt that technology has really provided us with a lot of opportunities to work more effectively and efficiently,” Matt Juniper, associate partner with PRAXIS, told CTV News Toronto.

After discovering 4 Day Week Global, Juniper said a lot of his initial concerns were “alleviated.”

“They’ve got a lot of good research and data that shows that the four-day week not only does the things you might think it does, in terms of benefits for your staff, but that the improved productivity and the staff well-being components can combine to actually improve business results.”

During the pilot, PRAXIS employees will work eight-hour days either from Monday to Thursday, or Tuesday to Friday, so each team can still provide regular service to their clients throughout the week.

The trial will follow the 100-80-100 model, which means employees will get paid their full salary while working 80 per cent of the time. The expectation is there will be 100 per cent devotion to their work during the time they’re on the clock.

But not everyone has to participate in the program if they don’t want to.

“If staff are more comfortable working at a sort of more gradual pace, they're comfortable with the five-day week, they will not be required to transition to the four-day week. It’s fully optional,” Juniper said

"Am I dreaming?"

Meredith Nebel, an account director at PRAXIS, told CTV News Toronto she initially thought she was dreaming when she heard the company will be trying out the four-day work week.

“Like, is this really a reality? I had to pinch myself,” Nebel said. “After I got over the initial, ‘Yes, I’m excited’, it was like, ‘But wait, how are we going to do this effectively and efficiently?’”

Juniper said there were a lot of discussions with staff and clients on how the four-day week would work at the company. Splitting up the days off, and providing the option of continuing to work a five-day week, were some of the solutions.

Nebel opted-in to the four-day work week model – “I mean, it would be foolish for me and my personal situation to not try it” – and notes the company has been preparing everyone for what the pilot will be like in the weeks leading into it.

“It’s from things as simple as making sure that we have somebody covering off our responsibilities while we have our rest day to setting up what our out-of-offices look like,” she said.

“We’ve started to already put these into place so that by the time we get to that first week of October, we hit the ground running and it'll be a smooth transition.”

Once the pilot starts, Nebel says she is most looking forward to spending more time with her family and her two young sons. She’s also going to use the extra time to get around to things that she has been putting on the back burner, like potentially taking a yoga teacher training course.

“It really just opens up that opportunity to check those boxes that might be on my bucket list." Top Stories

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