Regina automotive garage hopes a switch to 4-day week will help work-life balance

Regina automotive garage hopes a switch to 4-day week will help work-life balance

A handful of mechanics in Regina now have a work week that is one day shorter than most.

The automotive repair shop run, Kinetic Auto Service, asked its workers how it could improve their employment. Their response: a four-day work week.

“I was actually really looking forward to having more time to spend with my family,” Kinetic technician Allie Punga told CBC.

“I have a six-year-old and we have another one on the way, so any extra time not at work is a bonus.”

Kinetic employees will work 10-hour days from Tuesday to Friday, then have a three-day weekend.

Punga had previously worked a four-day work week as a hairstylist, but was reluctant to adopt the compressed work week approach in her current job because of the physical demands on mechanics — 10-hour days could be challenging, she said.

But so far, she hasn’t felt a noticeable difference in her day-to-day.

“It’s nice to have three days off, and I hope we can keep the shop running on four-day work weeks because it’s a lot more balancing.”

Punga said Kinetic Auto Service’s owner, Erin Vaughan, is a forward-thinking employer.

Vaughan held “stay interviews” to discuss what would keep employees around, as opposed to the exit interviews that are often done when an employee leaves a job.

During those interviews, employees talked about four-day weeks, sick days and additional training, said Vaughan.

“Give these people what they need to be successful and they’ll be happy at work,” she said.

“I am hoping that they are able to have a better work-life balance.”

Shop owner Erin Vaughan stands in the garage of Kinetic Auto Service in Regina.
Erin Vaughan is the owner of Kinetic Auto Service in Regina. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

The new work week began on April 3 on a trial basis, Vaughan said, and gave employees a chance to manage errands and other chores on their three-day weekends.

Vaughan’s stay interviews were inspired by Jolene Watson, a Saskatchewan networking expert and president of Clarity Coaching and Development.

“Sometimes we do exit interviews when an employee leaves to find out why they left, but it’s more important to do stay interviews in terms of are we actually utilizing all of your skill sets, abilities and strengths,” Watson told CBC.

LISTEN | Automotive garage trying out four- day work week talks about benefits:

The Morning Edition – Sask12:31Regina’s Kinetic Auto Service employees make switches to four-day work week

The owner of a Regina auto repair shop has made the decision to move the majority of her staff to a four-day work week. The Morning Edition stops by Kinetic Auto Services to hear how they are pulling off the change.

Watson said many employees left their jobs during the pandemic looking for more “fulfilling roles.”

Stay interviews are one way to maintain a relationship with employees and keep them around.

“It comes down to … ‘if I feel appreciated then I will go above and beyond what was expected of me.'”