Researchers suggest working fewer hours could boost productivity

It’s only been days since a small Nova Scotia municipality launched a four-day condensed work week pilot project, but according to the chief administrative officer, so far, so good.

The nine-month project, developed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, allows the municipality’s core employees to work the same number of hours over a period of four days, known to many as a compressed work week.

“Our staff seem to be extra excited about the new work system,” said Barry Carroll, Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. “We had some minor adjustments to make, obviously, but otherwise it’s been pretty seamless.”

Familiar concept gains new attention

While the compressed work week is not a new concep​​​​​​t, it has been given some renewed attention since COVID-19 changed the way people work. For many, that includes more flexible hours and working from home.

“What [the pandemic] has shown organizations is that people can work in different work situations,” said Erica Carleton, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour at the University of Saskatchewan.

“They’ll get their work done. You don’t need your boss sitting on top of you to finish your work.”


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