Following a successful pilot project, the Township of Springwater will permanently shift to a 4-day work week to foster a better work-life balance for its employees.
On September 21, Springwater Council voted unanimously to approve the municipality’s compressed work schedule option for staff on a permanent basis, as well as continue its extended public office hours of 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday.
The Township has been conducting a trial run of the 4-day compressed work week for the past five months, with consistently positive feedback from employees. Overall, 71% of its employees chose to participate in a compressed schedule, working longer days from either Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday in exchange for an additional day off every week or every other week. Of the noted improvements, staff cited greater productivity, more time for family and household commitments, and improved mental health as the primary benefits of their new work schedule.
To confirm these results and further evaluate the success of the pilot project, the Township conducted three surveys in late August to gather feedback from residents, members of Council and Township staff, respectively.
Of the responses received from residents, 95% indicated that the quality of service they received during the pilot project was at an acceptable standard or better. The majority also had no trouble accessing services (95%) and no concern with the Township continuing the compressed work schedule on a permanent basis (88%). The results of the Council survey echoed these findings, with 75% of Councillors reporting that the pilot project had either a very positive or somewhat positive impact on service delivery for their constituents.
When it came to staff, though some reported challenges related to childcare, most found the pilot project to have a positive impact on their work/life balance, morale in the workplace, efficiency, and ability to work with other departments and staff. Of those who did not participate in the pilot project, 50% said they would reconsider should the 4-day compressed work week become a permanent option.
The Township’s 4-day work week remains optional for staff and is subject to the operational requirements of each department. The program is part of a broader Flexible Work Arrangement Policy, which also provides options for remote work, flexible work and hybrid work. Employees are required to meet their same contractual 35- or 40-hour time requirement when participating in a flexible work arrangement.
“The 4-day work week has had a tangible impact on the level and quality of service provided to residents by the Township. Not only have we increased our accessibility to the public at no extra cost, but we have also improved our ability to attract and retain top talented employees who will help guide the smart, sustainable growth of our municipality.” – Springwater Mayor Don Allen
“The Township should be commended for taking a proactive approach to offer flexibility to its employees. A compressed work week is a great way to encourage a work-life balance for staff and maintain a high level of service to the customers, residents and businesses within Springwater.” – resident
“I think it's a great option for staff and allows them to have an extra day off, so they aren't burnt out, while at the same time allows the office to have extended hours without it costing anything extra for the taxpayer. Every time I've come in over the past four months there have always been pleasant staff ready to serve me.” – resident
“It's great having more time to access resources at the municipal building. Hopefully this will remain, so I don't have to take time off work to deal with matters at the municipal office.” – resident
“I feel it has significantly made my stress go down and has made me enjoy my job and life more.” – employee
“The additional day off has had an overall positive impact on my mental health and wellbeing as it provides an extra day to decompress and spend time with family.” – employee