TOWNSHIP OF SPRINGWATER
Following a successful pilot project, the Township of Springwater will permanently shift to a four-day work week to foster a better work-life balance for its employees.
On Sept. 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 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The township has been conducting a trial run of the four-day compressed work week for the past five months, with consistently positive feedback from employees. Overall, 71 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent) and no concern with the township continuing the compressed work schedule on a permanent basis (88 per cent). The results of the council survey echoed these findings, with 75 per cent 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 per cent said they would reconsider should the four-day compressed work week become a permanent option.
The township’s four-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 four-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," said Springwater Mayor Don Allen.