88% of Canadians Would Take a Four-Day Work Week if Employer Offered: Citrix

Canadian office workers are eager to transition to a four-day work week, but are currently spending an average of four hours each week working outside of their existing contracted hours – according to new research from Citrix which surveyed nine countries worldwide including Canada, Norway, Germany, UK, France, Denmark, Italy, Mexico and Sweden.

The new data – from a survey of 500 office workers in Canada carried out by OnePoll – sheds light on whether a shortened work week could be feasible for Canadians considering average overtime hours.

Top reasons cited for this overtime include feeling like it’s the culture of the business (37%), unrealistic targets and workload (22%) and, for some, it’s wanting to do the extra work (21%).

Outdated working culture despite tech evolution

Despite the existence of new technology that enables greater efficiency and productivity, Canadian employees revealed the pressing need for their organizations to upgrade technology – with improved processes (30%) cited as a top solution to help reduce extra time worked.

The country is divided with just less than half of Canadian workers (45%) believing a national four-day working week is feasible with their current workload, despite the same workers claiming a growing workload is what’s causing them to work overtime.

A working culture where Canadians (32%) still believe employers reward and/or promote those who work longer hours, coupled with outdated technology, are the top barriers preventing Canada from adopting a four-day working week. It’s not to say Canada won’t ever achieve this, but a shift in business culture and decision makers’ mindset must happen first. Embracing a more innovative workplace means measuring employees on the work they produce rather than correlating it to how much was produced during the traditional contracted hours of nine to five. Canadian companies need to focus on discovering how and where their employees work best and providing them with the technology necessary to enable them to do their job most efficiently.

Employees eagerly await 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Canada employees (88%, compared to the survey average of 87%) would take a four-day working week if it were offered. However more than half (74%, compared to the survey average of 72%) of those employees would only take it if they could keep the same salary, with less than a quarter (14%, compared to the survey average of 15%) being willing to take it if it meant a reduced salary.

Progress is being made, yet four-day working week is still years away

When asked when they might see a four-day working week in their companies, Canadian employees think we could be six years away. Despite progress being made globally, six years was the average among all countries surveyed when asked about the adoption of a four-day work week. UK workers think it will be possible soonest (approximately 5.61 years), followed by those in France (just below six years at 5.89) and then Canada at 6.22 years.

Canada is not alone with workload being the main barrier. Of all countries surveyed on this subject, the average overtime hours spent was four hours and 36 minutes. Notably, Norwegian workers work the most overtime (10+ hours) and Swedish workers work the least (three hours).

When comparing reasons for overtime work, the top reason among all countries was that it’s the culture of the business (23% compared to 37% in Canada). This was followed by unrealistic targets and workload (22% on average and for Canada) and getting paid overtime (20% compared to 18% in Canada).

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