When the pandemic hit Canada in March 2020, most workplaces were changed forever. Lockdowns and work-from-home orders required us to re-evaluate how we do business, and explore how to maintain work/life balance and continue to promote mental health in the workplace.
In mid-March, we voluntarily switched to work-from-home, and although workload and deliverables didn’t change, we all felt the stress caused by all of the changes to our day-to-day lives.
Two weeks later, we implemented “Me day”. The concept was simple – take Wednesday to do something for yourself. No work, no email, no meetings.
With spring fast approaching, it was a perfect time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Walks, bike rides, and other physical-distancing activities quickly became our go-to for our mid-week day off.
On the company side, we noticed immediate results. Efficiency was up, and so was our overall workload. We were getting more done in less time. Employees were as excited to work on Monday as they were on Friday.
“It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when working from home, and we are all familiar with Monday morning dread. Monday isn’t a scary word anymore. It’s just like any other day, because I know there are only two work days until I get a little break. When you are only working for the weekend it’s easy to put in less effort on Monday, but now I give 110% everyday, which I feel explains the boost in productivity.” – Will Muir, Web Developer
A quick update to our email footer and a Slack note to our active clients, and all understood. Some even praised the change.
“I thought it would be tougher to schedule meetings with clients, but they all understand that Wednesdays are for us, and they respect that. It’s really nice to be able to work with such great clients.” – Jessica Bennett, Project Manager
I’ve been asked several times over the past 21 months why I didn’t implement a “flex day”, or adjust hours or salaries to make up for the missing day of work. Honestly, that didn’t seem fair. If we can do the same (or more) work in less time, why not take a day for ourselves?