Sask. software company moves to 4-day work week, says workers much happier
Coconut Software began shortened workweek in August
One of Saskatchewan's best-known tech companies has moved to a shortened workweek and isn't looking back.
Last year Saskatoon-based Coconut Software, which helps large companies organize customer appointments, began hearing complaints from workers saying they were burned out by the pandemic.
In August, Coconut began experimenting with a four-day work week, from Monday to Thursday. The company began tracking its employees' productivity and was pleased with what it found.
"They were able to be more efficient with their time in the four days and kind of focus on the things that really mattered," chief financial officer Matt Petrow told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.
"Whether that meant cutting back on some of those meetings that maybe aren't as productive or aren't as important for getting work done, or just feeling more focused and able to get more things done in the same amount of time."
Petrow said the company rolled out its pilot during one of its busiest times, as it was raising money and expanding to handle new clients.
He said productivity didn't suffer. At the same time, workers seem to be much happier.
"All of our employees feel that it's helped them help them feel more productive coming to work," he said.
"They feel more recharged and refreshed when they come to work the next week."
Petrow said excitement around the shortened work week has also helped his company recruit new employees.
"It's helped us fill a lot of roles really quickly as a company," he said.
"We've doubled, really, during the eight-month period that we've had the four day work week"
Aaron Genest, president of SaskTech, an organization that represents tech companies in the province, said recruitment strategies are key these days.
As more and more companies allow employees to work remotely, large tech firms from outside the province are able to recruit workers who live here, making it difficult to find staff.
"Our local Saskatchewan companies are competing for labour in a worldwide market right now, said Genest.
"We're doing everything we can to try to remain competitive."
Genest said tech companies are well-known for trying out different work arrangements to make their employees happy.
He said the tech sector values employees who can focus on complex tasks and complete them quickly.
"We know that employees are not actually highly effective in five-workday-a-week, eight-hour-a-day workplaces," he said.
"If we shorten that, we tend to get better work over that time period."
With files from Saskatoon Morning, Candice Lipski