July 25, 2014 6:48 pm
Updated: July 28, 2014 2:37 pm

A 3-day work week; why work-life balance experts aren’t convinced


Watch above: how to achieve a work-life balance

SASKATOON – Working three, 10 to 12 hour days in exchange for a four day week-end; would you do it, if you could?

Well that’s exactly what Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is proposing for better quality of life and many of you aren’t opposed to the idea.

“I definitely would, I would have more time to spend with my kids, lots more time to get my things done at home,” said Susan Westmacott.

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“Yeah, why wouldn’t you? Four days off of course!” said Mark Friesan.

Work-life balance experts say they’re not convinced, citing massive coordination problems if a three-day work week wasn’t introduced on a large scale.

“Unless all of the child care providers also changed to a three-day work week it would be really difficult for the benefits work-life balance to be found in that kind of arrangement because people would struggle to arrange their life around, when the rest of society still hasn’t adopted that type of alternative work week,” said Dionne Pohler, assistant professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.

Not to mention a host of safety concerns working longer hours could present.

“I think there are some types of work where we shouldn’t be working extended hours in any given day. I think there is a lot of research that supports that after a certain amount of time fatigue does set in, no matter what job we’re doing but I think that some jobs it might be more problematic than others,” she explained.

The fact is some jobs do require people to work longer days.

Scott Johnston, who works at St. Paul’s Hospital as a nurses’ aide said he’s been pulling shift work for 14 years and doesn’t mind it one bit.

“They’re long right, you’re working 12 hour shifts but the time off is nice, you’re not in the workplace as much,” said Johnston.

Working one week-end a month, Johnston said the most he works in a rotation is three 12 hour days in a row.

“Sometimes your first day off, you’re beat but other than that I like it,” added Johnston.

While experts said they don’t see broad sweeping advantages for a large percentage of the population with this type of approach, they admitted there hasn’t been a lot of research on jurisdictions that have done this.

“I think that what we should be doing is setting up arrangements where people can actually negotiate with their employers arrangements that actually work for them and I think these ideas of one size fits all approaches, they never quite work out the way that they think they will,” said Pohler.


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