U of S assistant professor says pandemic may cause more people to think about a four-day work week
Erica Carleton said she expects conversation around new working normal to continue
A University of Saskatchewan assistant professor says it will be hard for people to ignore alternative work arrangements put in place during COVID-19 once the pandemic is over.
Erica Carleton is an assistant professor at the Edwards School of Business. After New Zealand's Prime Minister suggested a four-day-work week to give the economy a boost, it is back in Carleton's mind.
"From the employee perspective, it seems it's a really good idea," Carleton said. "Having more time away from work is good for employees."
Carleton said the idea comes and goes periodically, mainly because of how different employers react to it.
"There's norms around what we consider to be normal about work, and so change is enormously difficult," Carleton said. "You know, employees doing less work for, potentially, the same amount of money might not sit well with employers."
The pandemic has shown the reality of flexible working lives, Carleton said.
"I think it's going to be harder to ignore questions like a four-day work week or like more flexible work time," she said.
A four-day work week could have benefits for both employees and employers, as Statistics Canada says the majority of Canadians' stress is from work, Carleton said.
If people have more autonomy and control, it improves their well-being, she said.
"In general you do want to have healthy employees — that will cost you less in the end in terms of how much they use their benefits, that sort of thing," she said.
Carleton said that some changes may become the new normal after the pandemic.
"I think this conversation is going to continue for sure."