Lorne Marr Interviewed in The Pulse With Devon Peacock

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Lorne Marr, Director of New Business Development at LSM Insurance, was interviewed in The Pulse with Devon Peacock that is broadcast on AM980 every workday.

Devon Peacock and Lorne Marr discuss the concept of a four-day workweek that LSM Insurance established in 2009.

Devon Peacock in the Studio at AM980
Devon Peacock in the Studio at AM980

In the interview, Marr explains the advantages of the four-day workweek and the positive impact it’s had on his employees’ morale and productivity.

If you want to read more about the four-day workweek, you can read articles in our Four Day Work Week section.

Listen to the interview with Lorne Marr (part of The Pulse with Devon Peacock):

Transcript of the interview:

Devon Peacock:

What would you say if you could have a four-day workweek or a three-day weekend, however you want to look at it, every single week? Is that something you would be interested in? It’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if it’d work with this industry in particular. It likely would not work with all, but it most definitely could work with some.

I know for a fact it does work for some because it’s been working, apparently, just fine for LSM Insurance out of Toronto for the past of five years. They’ve been operating on a four-day workweek. I will take your calls on this in a couple of minutes.

There have been some articles lately just talking about the whole concept. But to get the perspective of those who do this, we’re now joined by Lorne Marr. He’s the Director of New Business and Development at LSM Insurance. Lorne, thanks for your time today. I appreciate it!

Lorne Marr:

You’re welcome. Nice speaking with you!

Devon Peacock:

Now, I’ve got that right? You’ve been doing this for a five years, right?

Lorne Marr:

Exactly, exactly.

Devon Peacock:

So, what made you decide to go this way and how has it been working out?

Lorne Marr:

Well, we decided to go this way right around beginning of 2009. And the reason we implemented it is it was right around the time of the recession and we wanted to be able to give more value to our employees without necessarily being able to offer more compensation.

So, what we did is that one of our employees was working quite far from the office, and we decided to implement the four-day workweek. And it worked quite well because it’s a way to add more value without having to pay out more dollars. Because really, it saves a lot of time. You can save upwards to five hours a week, depending on your commute — sometimes even more in terms of commute time.

So you’re working the same number of hours. You’re condensing it to a four-day week. So you’re working four ten-hour days, and that’s why we decided to put it in place — to save on time, save on gas, create more family time and a better-overall-quality work environment.

Devon Peacock:

Now, when this happens — like it’s one of those kind of funny… We put the call up to you guys yesterday so if you could talk to us today. And the back of my mind was like, “Oh, man. Maybe they’re going to be off on Friday.” Does everyone get the same Friday off or does it vary per employee?

Lorne Marr:

No, it changes. Some people have Friday off. Some people have Monday off. And some people have a day off during the week. So, it can vary. And there are some advantages if you have your day off during the middle of the week. You can get a lot of your errands done, and things like that, that you wouldn’t be able to get done on the weekend.

So a lot of people like that. They’re able to go some places. Let’s say they want to go with their kids on a Wednesday to Wonderland in the summer. And you avoid a lot of the crowd that you’d find on the weekend. So you can go on, maybe, a Friday because sometimes people are trying to take off early on a Friday.

Devon Peacock:

So when you started this, what were you expecting? Were you thinking this might be something that could work or you’re taking a flyer on or you were pretty confident that this is something that could work long-term?

Lorne Marr:

Oh, I was very confident that it will work long-term because it made a lot of sense to me that you can deliver more value to the people that are working with you. They’re going to be happier and they’re going to do a better job. And the key with us was really just make sure we had the systems in place to monitor everyone’s performance to make sure that the performance is as good or, in a lot of instances, better.

Devon Peacock:

What are some of those benefits? Has this helped with morale? Is it easier to attract people to or retain employees? What are some of the effects of this?

Lorne Marr:

Morale. And then it’s easier, which has allowed us to retain our key employees, which is a big factor. Every time you lose a key employee, that can have a big impact on your bottom line. So, it’s something that’s really allowed us to attract people. But really, the main focus for us was to keep our key people — and to keep our key people happy, and to make sure that we’re creating as good an environment as possible for everyone to excel.

Devon Peacock:

This is something that’s talked about off and on at different times over the years. But still not a lot of companies are doing this in Canada. Are you a bit surprised by this?

Lorne Marr:

I am. I am, but in a way I think a lot of larger companies, sometimes they’re a little top-heavy with their thinking. And they’re not as, maybe, nimble with some of the ideas that maybe could help improve the overall performance of an organization.

But I think if it’s done properly, and, once again, if you have systems in place to track how people are doing — and the system’s not being exploited — it can work very well.

Devon Peacock:

You think this is something that could work for everyone or maybe just on a specific company or industry basis, depending on what might work best for them?

Lorne Marr:

I think it could work for pretty much with almost any industry. There are always going to be exceptions. But the bottom line is you’re getting the same 40 hours. So if they’re more upbeat during those 40 hours… You know, everybody hates spending time in traffic. So they’re going to be happy that they have to spend less time in traffic.

It’s better for the environment, which is another benefit that we didn’t mention, because there’s less commuting and there’s less gridlock on the roads. It’s better for the environment and community as a whole. It also saves on gas.

All of those things are going to create more advantages for the employee. And a happy employee is going to be a productive employee.

Devon Peacock:

Would you have any advice for any companies that might be thinking about doing this on maybe the do’s and don’ts if this is something they want to do?

Lorne Marr:

I would say that I would just make sure that the employer and the employee are on the same page in terms of what is supposed to be done in those four days. If the business is going to be open five days, which a lot of businesses are — some might even be open more — you just have it set up so, once again, not everybody’s taking off Friday. I mean a lot of people, I think you’ll find, would be. And you can rotate it so you can have one person take off a Monday the first week or two weeks in the month and then the Friday for the other two weeks in the month.

People are usually pretty flexible because you’re offering them something that they didn’t have before. There might be the odd person who doesn’t want to take advantage of it also.

Devon Peacock:

Lorne, I appreciate your time today. It’s quite an interesting idea. Thanks for your time.

Lorne Marr:

You’re very welcome. Nice speaking with you.

Devon Peacock:

That’s Lorne Marr. He’s the Director of New Business Development at LSM Insurance in Toronto.

How many times have you heard people say, especially right after a long weekend, “Well, this is something I’d like to have happen all the time”? I personally would love it. I don’t know how it’d necessarily work in our specific business, in the radio business, in the sense that a lot of what we do is based on if you’re working, we’re working. If you’re taking a long weekend, then we might do that, but if you’re not taking a long weekend then we do, then we’re not exactly doing our job. It may not work for this industry, but maybe it could.

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Steve
Steve

Having a 4 day work week sounds promising. But it also depends on your occupation as well. It would be great to spend more time with your family friday-sunday! I would definitely put in more hours during those 4 days to get my friday off.