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FRENCH CONNECTION: Four-day work week first dreamed of in 1970s

The idea never went away
Diana French pens a weekly column for the Williams Lake Tribune. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Congratulation to the two long- serving Tsilhqot’in chiefs elected last month. Joe Alphonse was re-elected Chief of the Tl’etinqox First Nation for his eighth consecutive term. Roger William will serve for a third time as Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation. Both men have devoted many years to working for their communities.

The idea of a four-day work week has been around for years—I remember it being dreamed of in the 1970s. Many liked the idea but employees worried about living on four days pay and employers worried about losing a day’s production.

The idea never went away, and today some 17 countries have adopted it. Some Canadian companies have it, some are trying it out.

The wage issue has been worked out usually with hours added during the working days to make up for the time missed. A few companies pay the same wages while some employees are willing to work 10 hours a day.

During recent trial runs, the shorter work week worked well for everyone. It’s life changing for workers. Levels of anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues decrease, while mental and physical health improve, leading to increased productivity on the job. Companies tended to streamline procedures, and revenues stayed the same. In one study, 56 of the 61 participants opted to stay with the four days.

We had our second few days of winter last week.

Snow takes a lot of shovelling, and although I have lived in the Cariboo Chilcotin for 72 years, I have never, ever shovelled snow.

I’m not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed about it, but there has always been a helpful male — husband, sons, landlord, someone — to shovel walkways. I have, however, de- snowed many vehicles all by myself.

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