Springwater pilots 4-day work week for township staff
The Township of Springwater is taking steps to improve the work-life balance of its employees through a new pilot program that will also see extended office hours.
At its April 6 meeting, the Springwater board voted unanimously to introduce a four-day compressed workweek companywide for a five-month trial period beginning April 25, 2022. This decision is intended to provide more flexibility to staff as well as residents who may have difficulty accessing services during the current township hours of operation.
Under the proposed model, township staff will work longer days, either Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday, achieving the same 35- or 40-hour workweek as under the current five-day model.
Splitting the team into two separate groups will allow the municipality to keep its office doors open five days a week, with extended hours providing residents and other stakeholders with an additional hour of service each day at no additional cost to the Springwater ratepayer.
The compressed work week schedule will be offered to all employees on a voluntary basis, subject to the operational requirements of each department.
The four-day compressed workweek has already been implemented in a small number of Ontario municipalities, including the townships of Zorra, Blandford-Blenheim, East Zorra-Tavistock and South-West Oxford. While educating staff in these communities, they learned about the many benefits of the four-day work week, from improving staff retention and attraction to improving employee morale, increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism.
The program is part of a broader policy on flexible working arrangements for the township, which will also provide options for remote working, flexible working and hybrid working.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real trigger for rethinking the world of work,” says Jeff Schmidt, chief executive of the township. “We have listened to our employees over the past year and heard how they want and need more flexibility to better take care of their mental health. Our goal with this trial is to further establish a culture where we celebrate balance with increased flexibility and confidence, which results in happier and more productive employees.
During the four-day compressed work week trial period, the Township Administration Center will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.