Monday, 13th June 2022 | Management

A shortened workweek: fad or the future of work?

The idea of a four-day workweek is becoming mainstream, and there are a lot of pros and cons to consider. Could this strategy benefit your small business? Read on to find out if this concept is right for you.

No longer just the purview of progressive European companies, the concept of a four-day workweek has hit the mainstream in North America through think pieces, research, and the nightly news. While it’s undeniable that the face of work is changing, what’s less clear is whether a four-day workweek will be part of this future. For Canadian businesses, now is the time to acquaint yourself with the pros and cons of a shortened workweek.

A transforming workplace

The idea of a shortened workweek is not new. The concept—which has employees working a four-day week for the same pay, benefits, and to complete the same workload—has been under review in several countries, notably Iceland. The United Kingdom will be piloting a shortened workweek this year and Belgium has announced in 2022 it will begin offering this arrangement to employees who want it. 

Better work-life balance, increased productivity, environmental concerns, and the wastefulness of maintaining in-person workspaces are all drivers for the four-day workweek. And according to current data, the scheme is effective in all areas. 

Now, as employees are returning to the workplace after a pandemic hiatus, old complaints are resurfacing. Long commutes, a lack of control over personal time, expensive lunches, and the threat of communicable disease all make change attractive. 

What's in it for Canadian small businesses?

Use this list of pros and cons to help you determine whether a shortened workweek is a strategy that could benefit your business. 

The Pros

Here are the three main ways a four-day workweek could benefit you:

A great perk to attract top talent

Increasingly, attracting and retaining quality employees is a challenge for employers. The ability to condense the workweek into four days is a big bonus for job-seekers.

An incentive to retain staff instead of increasing pay

If increasing salaries is beyond your means, offering a four-day workweek can be a way to entice staff to stay in the long term.

Better work/life balance means a happier, more productive staff

When your employees are happy, the benefits are multifold. They’re more pleasant and motivated, more likely to remain with your company and recommend it to others, and they’re more effective and productive. 

Additionally, a shortened workweek: 

  • Decreases office expenses
  • Reduces commuting time and therefore individuals’ carbon footprint  
  • Fosters equity in the workplace as it’s a more accessible model, particularly for people who also have childcare responsibilities


The four-day workweek might not be appropriate for every type of business or every kind of employee. Here are some considerations:

It can be expensive

Paying employees for hours not worked can be a payroll puzzle. This is especially a concern in industries like factory work where the hours worked can quite literally translate into productivity.

Customer satisfaction and client relations could suffer

If your business relies on the continuity of customer-facing staff, you might have to get creative around scheduling to ensure customer satisfaction doesn’t wane.

A compressed workweek could mean longer workdays 

When considering a shorter workweek, make the distinction between working four regular eight-hour days and working 40 hours in four days. This concept can take on many different forms depending on the type of business, however, longer workdays can nullify many of the benefits of a compressed workweek. The idea is to remove a portion of work hours from the week, not cram the same amount into a shorter timeframe.  


As an increasing number of companies consider the four-day workweek, the idea is bound to mainstream. Now is the time to weigh the pros and cons of this kind of implementation for your business.

Read Also

Customer retention best practices for your small business

In 2023, the business landscape will be more dynamic, with constantly evolving trends and changing customer demands. You can keep your customers engaged and returning for more with the right strategies. Here are some invaluable customer retention best practices to help you stand out from the crowd and keep your customers coming back for more:

Embrace Omnichannel Sales

The pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping, and customers are now more comfortable than ever buying online. This means providing a seamless experience across all channels, from your website to social media platforms, mobile apps, and online marketplaces. Investing in innovative technologies such as AI and automation can deliver personalized and efficient products that set you apart from the competition. 

Use Social Media to Build Relationships

Social media is a powerful tool for building relationships with your customers. You must use social media to build a community around your brand, engage with your customers, and create meaningful relationships. By actively listening to your customers and responding to their queries, feedback, and concerns, you can show that you care and establish trust. Furthermore, social media allows you to showcase your brand's unique personality and values, which can help you stand out from the competition. Sharing customer stories, testimonials, and reviews can also be an effective way to humanize your brand and build social proof.

Leverage Data Analytics

Data analytics can help you understand your customers better and identify opportunities to improve customer retention. You can identify opportunities to improve customer retention and create personalized experiences by tracking customer behaviour, preferences, and feedback. Investing in data analytics tools can help you make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing and sales strategies to meet your needs.

Be Transparent and Authentic

Customers are increasingly demanding transparency and authenticity from the brands they do business with. Customers are looking for open and honest businesses about their practices, policies, and values. This requires being transparent about pricing, shipping, and returns policies and using authentic and inclusive marketing messages. Doing so can build trust with your customers, which is essential for long-term loyalty. Customers are also more likely to recommend businesses they perceive as transparent and authentic.

Focus on Customer Experience

Customer experience will be a major differentiator for small businesses. As a small business owner, providing exceptional customer experience across all touchpoints should be a top priority. This means investing in customer service training for your staff, optimizing your website for usability, and gathering customer feedback to improve your products and services continuously. 


These customer retention best practices can help your small business to stand out from the competition, improve customer loyalty, and grow your business. By embracing omnichannel sales, using social media to build relationships, leveraging data analytics, being transparent and authentic, and focusing on customer experience, you can create a loyal customer base that will continue to do business with you and recommend your brand to others. 

Sales ,Marketing ,Management

7 ways how AI empowers small businesses to achieve more in less time

What is artificial intelligence (AI)?

AI is a revolutionary technology that enables SMBs to automate tasks, predict trends, forecast demand, improve decision-making, streamline operations, and scale up. With advanced AI models like Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, and GPT-3, and the emergence of AI-powered products like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot, we can now utilize technology that was once considered exclusively human.

In this blog, we will explore the benefits of AI for SMBs and how you can gain a competitive advantage in your respective markets by optimizing operations and maximizing output with minimal resources.

1. Automating Repetitive Tasks

AI-powered tools can automate time-consuming tasks such as data entry, invoicing, and email management. This frees up valuable resources that can be redirected toward high-value activities, such as strategic planning, customer engagement, and product development.  

2. Improving Customer Experience

Chatbots and virtual assistants can provide customers with quick and accurate responses to their inquiries, improving their overall experience with your business. Additionally, it can analyze customer behaviour and preferences to personalize marketing efforts and provide targeted recommendations, further enhancing the customer experience. 

3. Improving Decision-Making

SMBs are frequently required to make critical decisions that impact the trajectory of their business. AI-powered tools can enhance your decision-making by providing real-time insights and analytics. For example, an AI tool can analyze sales data and identify trends, empowering owners to make data-driven pricing, promotions, and product development decisions.

4. Predicting Trends and Forecasting Demand

AI-powered tools can help you predict trends and forecast demand. By analyzing data from various sources, including social media, sales history, and online reviews, AI has allowed you to identify emerging trends and help your SMB adjust strategies accordingly. 

5. Enhancing Marketing Efforts

AI can also help enhance marketing efforts. Analyzing customer data that will identify the target audience, create personalized marketing campaigns, and predict which marketing strategies will most likely be effective.

6. Enhancing Cybersecurity

With the rise of cyber threats, SMBs can use AI to strengthen their cybersecurity measures. AI-powered tools can detect and prevent cyber attacks, identify vulnerabilities in systems and networks, and provide real-time alerts to potential threats. This helps SMBs protect their sensitive information and prevent costly data breaches.

7. Improving Decision Making

Lastly, AI can help improve decision-making by providing data-driven insights. AI-powered tools can assist you, and your managers in making well-informed decisions regarding crucial aspects such as hiring, resource allocation, product development, and pricing.


Marketing ,Management

5 Strategies for Growing your Business

What can I do to start developing a plan for growth?

Deciding to grow your business is a big step, so take a moment to congratulate yourself. Now, let’s get to work. The first thing to do is to develop a plan, and these five strategies can help.

1. Take care of your cash flow

Just for everyday operations, businesses need to have a steady flow of capital coming in and going out, but the importance of your cash flow intensifies when you’re planning to expand. 

Survey your income and expense reports to determine your current cash flow, and identify trends so you can estimate how much you’ll have in the future. Don’t stop there. Make sure that you return to this information regularly to ensure you remain on the right path. 

Should you find yourself in a cash flow crunch, you can consider a business line of credit so you can continue to take care of your responsibilities. Alternatively, you can take out a small business loan. 

2. Invest in marketing and sales

It’s common for sales and marketing costs to fall to the bottom of a small business’ priority list, but they’re an absolutely crucial investment, especially if you’re expanding. Bear in mind that marketing and sales strategies and tactics can be tailored to your business’ unique needs, so you’ve got a variety of options to choose from–all with different budgets. Consider your audience, sales goals, and business forecast to build regular (think monthly) marketing efforts into your long-term plan. Marketing your business is an investment in its success. 

3. Attend to your core audience while attracting new customers 

Expansion often involves courting new customers, weather from different market segments or simply additional regions. It’s important that during the growth process resources and attention aren’t stolen from your core customers. They’re the ones who got you here, after all. 

One way to give everyone the attention they deserve is to break your audience (and marketing dollars) into distinct segments and sell each according to their wants. Be open to different configurations. For example, depending on the situation you might want to serve everyone under a single brand, or develop distinct brands for different segments. 

4. Confirm your supply

Few things can turn customers away faster than hearing you don’t have the products or services they need. Supply chain issues and slow delivery since the pandemic have put an increasing number of businesses in a precarious position when it comes to meeting customer demands, so your expansion plans should include the establishment of relationships with multiple reliable suppliers. Your efforts in advance demonstrate good business practices and respect for your customers. Plus, positive relationships with multiple suppliers can help you with your expansion goals. 

5. Ensure quality and consistency 

It should go without saying, but the last thing you want to happen when you expand is to have your quality or customer experience decline. Plan against this by establishing production, operations, and customer service standards. .

You have a better chance of expanding successfully if you plan carefully in advance. Attend to your finances, marketing, suppliers, and customers in advance to make sure you’re growing on a solid foundation. 


Speak to an iCapital advisor about small business loans or lines of credit to ensure steady cash flow during your expansion process. 

Marketing ,Accounting ,Management

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