A four-day work week is a trending buzzword in workspaces and the job market. Companies across the globe are permanently implementing a four-day work week schedule, especially after successfully running pilot programs, further leveraging this benefit to attract talent. However, with America’s hustle culture coming into play, are US employees ready for a shorter work week? While a four-day work week looks appealing with forever long weekends, getting all the work done in fewer days can get intense. Hence, to understand the sentiment around this popular trend among US employees, we collaborated with market research firm YouGov to survey American workers' thoughts on a four-day work week.

Graph 2 Interest in a 4-Day Work Week

What are America's concerns about a four-day work week?

According to the study, 72% of Americans have concerns about implementing a four-day work week. Their top 3 concerns are receiving less pay (31%), working longer days (30%), and working overtime without extra pay (20%). Less pay is a more significant concern for women (34%) than men (29%).

Graph 4 Concerns

What is America’s ideal work scenario?

The most popular solution for US adults (42%) would be a 32-hour work week of eight-hour days with no pay cut. In second place is a 40-hour work week, consisting of 10-hour days, with no pay cut, chosen by 27% of Americans. The former is most popular (50%) among respondents aged 18-34, and the latter is most popular among older demographics, selected mainly by those aged 55+ (37%). Only 14% of American workers would prefer a pay cut (up to 5%) in exchange for a four-day work week (consisting of 8-hour work days).

Graph 7 Ideal Arrangement

What will Americans do with a newly free day?

Leisure was the most popular choice, with one in four Americans placing it as their #1 choice. The report showed that most Americans would like to spend their extra free day in leisure/recreational activities, with 63% picking it as one of the top three activities, along with household chores (62%) and personal appointments (58%).Graph 6 Leisure ActivitiesWill Americans be able to forego a live-to-work approach?

Most American employees (62%) are equally productive on all five weekdays. However, the live-to-work approach is fading with younger talent coming into the picture. Those aged 55 and older (68%) are most likely to feel equally productive all five days and have the least interest in a four-day work week (64%). Whereas their younger counterparts feel otherwise. 54% of ages 18-34 and 62% of ages 35-54 are equally productive on all five days and more interested in a four-day work week (86%, ages 18-34 and 78%, ages 35-54).

Graph 1 Work ProductivityWhy do Americans want a four-day work week?

According to the report, the top three reasons for US employees to consider a four-day work week schedule are a better work-life balance (33%), improving mental health and avoiding burnout (18%), and reducing stress from overwhelming work conditions (12%). Graph 5 Why the 4-Day Work Week?Which benefits do Americans consider to be important apart from annual salary increases?

Our study shows that Americans give the most value to health insurance benefits (54%), flexible working hours (49%) and more vacation days (38%). Only 31% placed a four-day work week among their top three benefits. That said, a four-day work week ranked higher than a hybrid position (25%), remote position (24%), mental health benefits and professional development opportunities (22% each).

Graph 3 Top Work Benefits

Overall, while Americans are worried about receiving less pay and working longer hours, they definitely want extended weekends, with 75% showing interest in a four-day week. In fact, 43% of Americans called it an inevitable next step to hybrid working. 

Graph 8 Inevitable Step

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