Summerland’s municipal services transition to a four-day work week has been met with positive responses from staff and from the public, according to a report presented to council.
At the Nov. 28 council meeting, Marnie Manders, manager of human resources for the municipality, presented an overview of the first five months of the modified schedule.
The 18-month trial of the four-day compressed work week began July 2, and will continue until Dec. 28, 2024.
Under the schedule, municipal offices are open from Tuesday to Friday from 8: 15 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is a change from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Some municipal employees remain on a five-day workweek schedule to meet their operational needs.
Manders said staff turnover had decreased and employee retention has increased since the new schedule was implemented. In addition, the schedule change has received positive feedback from the public.
“We now have a lot of people using those extended hours, and the comments from the public are quite favourable,” she said, adding that the additional hours are well-used by the public.
She said Summerland is one of the few communities to have implemented a compresssed work week. Those that have not gone to the compressed weeks are continuing to deal with higher staff turnover numbers.
Members of Summerland council are pleased with the program at present.
Coun. Marty Van Alphen said he had doubts about the program at the beginning, but since it has been implemented, he has not heard complaints about it.
Coun. Doug Patan said he was not a supporter of the workweek changes at the beginning, but he has not heard public criticism of the program.
Coun. Adrienne Betts said a similar initiative was implemented in Merritt. She added that the compressed schedule is needed in order to make Summerland an attractive place to work.
“We need to find a way to offer employees a reason to choose us, and in turn that provides better and better customer service to our residents,” she said.
Coun. Janet Peake also said the municipality is benefitting from the compressed workweek schedule.
“I think it’s an advantage for our community,” she said. “I think this is a really good opportunity.”