A Toronto-based software developer is offering additional workplace flexibility to employees, leading to increased productivity and growth.

Marco Osso, vice-president of employee success at Inc., says the company launched a shortened work week in August, allowing employees to work four or 4.5 days depending on their personal schedules.

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The idea of a shortened workweek has gained momentum lately. Last week, the Ontario Liberals said they’ll launch a pilot project to “analyze the potential for a four-day workweek” if elected next year. And this July, Iceland announced two large trials allowing public sector employees to work 35-36 hours per week instead of 40 hours, with no reduction in pay, was an “overwhelming success.”

“We want to be as flexible as possible, regarding any aspects of our employees’ lives. A big part of that is people’s work hours, so we want to be flexible about when and where they work. As long as their productivity remains the same and we’re still able to support our customers and internal needs, people can work basically whatever hours they want.”

This flexibility ties into Tulip’s hybrid workplace model, he says, which allows employees — many of whom moved out of the Toronto area during the coronavirus pandemic — to work from anywhere and attend the office on an as-needed basis. According to Osso, roughly 90 per cent of Tulip employees said they only want to come into the office once a week.

“What we’re trying to do is find ways for all of us to work more efficiently. We made it clear we don’t want productivity to decrease with less hours, so what we’ve done is given employees tools to manage their days effectively so they can do more in less time.”

Read: 54% of Canadian employers adopting hybrid work, meeting employee expectations: survey

Tulip is also launching a “work-cation” program in 2022, which allows employees to extend their vacation time by working an additional week at reduced hours, says Osso. “If you’re going to Europe or a cottage, you can take an additional week and just work 20 hours and not use more of your vacation entitlement.

“We feel we’ve met employee expectations through these initiatives. We’ll say ‘yes’ to almost everything but there may be some disclaimers. For example, if an employee wants to work from India for six months, there’s certain conditions they need to be aware of. We want to have almost zero restrictions on employee flexibility.”