LSM in the News: Is Your Business Ready for a Four-Day Work Week? (The Voice)
LSM Insurance is known throughout the land for its four-day work week.
As a result, its founder, Lorne Marr, is often called upon in the media to talk about its genesis.
Recently, he recounted the story for The Voice, the business magazine for The Markham Board of Trade. As the story goes, Lorne was running a much smaller, six employee, version of LSM Insurance and he wanted to reward his workers for a great year, but couldn’t afford to give them a raise. Instead, he proposed the four-day work week, which remains a hit for staff for this day. Here’s what Lorne had to say to The Voice about it:
“Our team still loves it,” says Marr, Director of New Business Development. “They’re spending less time commuting to work, they’re saving on gas and it’s reducing their stress.”
Of course, he also makes the point that LSM Insurance is still open and serving their clients and potential clients five days a week, as the advisors there rotate their day off throughout the week. Plus, not every advisor chooses to actually stop working on their day-off, some just choose to work from home. Whether they use their extra day-off or not, each LSM Insurance advisor still puts in 40-hour weeks.
As Lorne once told The Toronto Star, “They have to be accountable, but we don’t care how they do it.”
He actually gave some advice to anyone wishing to start a four-day work week at their company in The Voice that expands on the need for accountability if a company is going to pull it off successfully.
“You should ensure there’s a system in place to measure an employee’s work results. Productivity should be better when you switch to a four-day work week,” he tells them. “But you still want to make sure there’s measures in place to ensure productivity isn’t slipping.”
He also recommends making sure your business fosters a team atmosphere, as this is more conducive to the four-day work week structure.
But Lorne and LSM insurance are not the founders of the four-day work week structure. As you’ll see if you read any of the articles Lorne and the team are featured in, the four-day work week actually originated as a concept in the 19th century. The thought was that with the increase in new technology would make it necessary to only work four days a week because machines would take care of the grunt work. It was brought back during the recession of 2008/09 (when Lorne started it) as a way to prevent layoffs.
One of the reasons your business needs a team to make the four-day work week happen is because the co-workers need to be close enough to be able to cover the holes in each other’s schedule and balance out the week. As he told The Voice: “I don’t think people have to work 24/7. Nowadays people are always checking their e-mails and working at different times in the day, that’s not necessarily productive. Working a lot doesn’t mean you’re working productively.”