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Toronto company introduces four-day work week for its nearly 500 employees

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Alida Inc., a Toronto-based software company with nearly 500 employees, is introducing a four-day work week for all its staff across several countries, including Canada.

The company, previously known as Vision Critical Communications Inc., made the announcement on Tuesday, saying it would kick off the pilot program in July 2022. Staff will be able to take Fridays off and keep the same salary and benefits.

Company officials said the decision for the shortened work week came from employee feedback and was driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot program, they said, is meant to help them better understand how the organization and staff respond to the four-day work week, with the hope to make it permanent.

“The pandemic has been a real trigger for rethinking the world of work,” Alida CEO Ross Wainwright said in a news release. We’ve been listening to our employees over the past year and have heard how they want and need more flexibility to take better care of their mental health.”

“Employees today are juggling burnout, constantly changing government restrictions and their families’ health and safety. Our goal with this trial is to further establish a culture where we celebrate balance with increased flexibility and trust, resulting in happier and more productive employees.”

The concept of a four-day work week has been gaining traction in Ontario and other places across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

Ontario’s Zorra Township switched to a four-day work week in December after taking part in a pilot program by researchers at York and Western universities.

At Alida, all employees will maintain their full salary and benefits during the pilot. They will be expected to maintain the same level of productivity, but in a reduced time period of four days instead of five.

Alida is a customer experience management and customer insights platform. It builds programs to help businesses track and analyze online user feedback. Many of the company’s employees are software developers and engineers, and others work in sales and administration.

The company, which has workers in various countries around the world, said it will measure the program’s success based on productivity and business results, as well as feedback on “employee happiness levels.”

“It’s time that companies meet employees where they are when it comes to work,” said Alida’s Hermina Khara. “We believe that our employees can make the best decisions for themselves on how and when they work.”

“We want to give them further opportunity to nurture their mental and physical well-being so they can bring their best selves to work.” 

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