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New Year, Fresh Idea

This January, the LWF and Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective (LWIC) teams are implementing a reduced workweek trial to advance our strategic goal of demonstrating excellence in non-profit governance and practice. All our staff will be working 32 hours/week for the next six months, as we test out the benefits and opportunities of the increasingly common four-day workweek.

Our objectives with this shortened workweek are to increase employee engagement and well-being, improve staff recruitment and retention, sharpen our focus on our strategic goals, and spark the creativity and passion that fuel our mission. We recognize that our team’s productivity should be measured by the outcomes we achieve, not by the hours we log.

Our six-month trial, from January to June 2024, is a diagnostic period. During this time, we’ll be reviewing our work practices and policies, and updating them to support more focused and efficient work. We see great potential for the long-term success of the reduced workweek at LWF, while recognizing that changes and adjustments may be necessary as we adapt and refine this new model.

Increasingly, non-profit and charitable organizations around the world are recognizing not only the well-being and productivity opportunities, but also the competitive advantage that a four-day/32-hour work week offers in a sector that has often struggled to compete with private industry.

Many other Canadian charities have adopted this model – from the David Suzuki Foundation (which has been leading the way since 1990!), to EcoTrust Canada, to Greenpeace Canada (which especially recognizes how traditional work schedules impact women in the workplace).

Like these other examples, our reduced workweek comes with the expectation that the LWF and LWIC staff teams will continue to achieve the same results. We’re using the 100-80-100 model: providing employees with 100 per cent of the pay, for 80 per cent of the time, while maintaining 100 per cent productivity.

We’ve known for a long time that our team places a high value on the flexibility of our work environment. We’re continuing this flexibility by giving staff the freedom to set their own schedules, while protecting time for collaborative work together in the office. Some of our team members will be working four days a week, while some will be at their desks five days a week with shorter daily hours. Either way, we’re proud to offer our staff a little bit of breathing room – to push back against the constant hustle and bustle – so that we all come to work refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle our ambitious goals.

Check out these stories and resources to learn more about the reduced workweek model:

CBC’s The Current: Why experts say it’s time to adopt a 4-day work week

4 Day Week Global

BBC: The case for a shorter workweek

The Conversation: The day is dawning on a four-day work week

Stolen Focus: Why you can’t pay attention – and how to think deeply again

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