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Most U.S. Employees Want a Four-day Work Week Even if it Means Working Longer Hours

Last updated:  February 24, 2022


2022-02-24

92% of employees say they want a four-day work week, and one in three would be willing to take a 5% pay cut or more in exchange  

PROVO, Utah and SEATTLE, Feb. 24, 2022 — Nearly all U.S. employees (92%) say they want a four-day work week, citing improved mental health and increased productivity as the perceived benefits, according to new research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM). Three out of four employees (74%) say they would be able to complete the same amount of work in four days, but most (72%) say they would have to work longer hours on workdays to do so. See the full study results here.  

In today’s competitive labor market, flexibility over when they work is among workers’ most common requests. Ultimately, increased flexibility beats out a set four-day work week for more employees. When asked to choose between the two, 47% say they’d prefer a four-day work week, compared to 50% who would rather have increased flexibility to work when they want.  

Despite the popularity of the idea, many employees fear a shorter work week could have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line and relationships with customers. Forty-six percent believe a four-day work week would have a negative effect on sales and revenue, and 55% say a shorter work week would frustrate customers.  

“What employees really want and expect is the flexibility to adjust their work schedules to fit the demands of their lives. In today’s new world of work, successful companies will set aside antiquated assumptions about what productivity looks like and listen to employees, so they can offer the flexibility that meets their individual needs,” said Benjamin Granger, Ph.D., head of employee experience advisory services at Qualtrics. “While there is increasing momentum around the idea of working four days a week, employees are willing to acknowledge the associated tradeoffs — like working longer hours or potentially frustrating customers.”  

When it comes to recruiting and retaining talent, however, employees are confident that a four-day work week would be beneficial. Employees say a four-day work week is the number one thing that would influence them to stay at a company longer — even more than unlimited vacation or paid mental health days. Eighty-one percent say a four-day work week would make them feel more loyal to their employer, and 82% say it would help their company with recruitment. More than a third (37%) would even be willing to take a 5% pay cut or more in exchange for recurring three-day weekends.  

Paid mental health days are another benefit that may increase retention and loyalty. Similar to four-day work weeks, the majority of employees (92%) want paid mental health days, which are seen as more than just a gimmick to appease burnt out employees or a ploy for extra vacation days. Ninety-five percent say paid mental health days are a long-term solution to ensuring good mental health among employees.  

More key takeaways from the study:

  • 79% of U.S. employees say a four-day work week would improve their mental health; 82% say it would make them more productive
  • Only 38% say a four-day work week would encourage employees to slack off, compared to 60% who say it wouldn’t.
  • 89% say paid mental health days would help them recharge and be more productive
  • 87% say paid mental health days would reduce burnout and improve mental health

Methodology:  

This study was fielded between Jan. 10 and Jan. 12, 2022. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are employed full-time. The total number of respondents was 1,021. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed. See full results here: qualtrics.com/blog/four-day-work-week/  

About Qualtrics  

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 16,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.