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Idea of four-day work week rekindled because of pandemic
DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- The idea of a four-day work week isn't new, but the pandemic is renewing calls to change the foundation of our work-life balance.
"A lot of us have been working from home and while that's not really a four-day work week, it opens the door to consider changes," said Kevin Kelloway, the occupational health psychology research chair at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.
Kelloway says more companies may now be keen to give the four-day work week idea a try.
"If they do it carefully with some thought, I think it can largely work out for them," Kelloway said. "It really varies with the nature of the company and the nature of their business and how they implement a four-day work week."
In July 2008, Nova Scotia's energy minister of the day said a four-day work week could help the provincial government save money.
"In the summertime, you know, because office buildings have air conditioners," said Richard Hurlburt, 12 years ago. "In the wintertime, it'd be safer; maybe the employees wouldn't have to travel in bad weather on certain days."
The idea didn't really go anywhere then, but it's once again gaining traction.
Last week, the Prime Minister of New Zealand said a four-day work week could help improve her country's economy during the pandemic.
"It would certainly help tourism all across the country," said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was less enthusiastic when asked about the topic on Wednesday.
"Right now we're very much focused on getting through this particular crisis," he said from Ottawa.
Kelloway said a four-day work week doesn't need to be led by government.
"I think actually it's going to be individual companies who take it up, might be willing to find a new approach to what they're doing," he said.