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A majority of office workers say 4-day workweek would improve productivity

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About 8 in 10 office workers say they would be more productive if they had a four-day workweek, according to an Aug. 7 report from ResumeBuilder.com.

In addition, 3 in 4 would switch jobs and 1 in 3 would take a pay cut if they were offered a four-day work schedule.

“It’s very clear that workers are enthusiastic about a 4-day workweek, and this could be an alternative for organizations to give workers more work/life balance, rather than instituting remote or hybrid work schedules if that does not fit with their culture,” Stacie Haller, chief career advisor for Resume Builder, said in a statement.

“Companies requiring in-person work are missing out on employees who only want remote/hybrid work, so a 4-day workweek could be a good compromise that allows companies to attract more qualified applicants,” she said.

In a survey of 1,000 full-time office workers who don’t already have a four-day workweek, 94% said they would be in favor of switching, with 57% saying they would be “very enthusiastic” about it.

Overall, about a third of office workers said they’d take a pay cut to move to a four-day workweek, even assuming their job responsibilities stayed the same. About 77% said they’d be somewhat or highly likely to switch jobs if offered a four-day work schedule.

Among those in favor of a shorter workweek, 96% said it would improve their work-life balance, and 88% said it would improve their productivity at work.

Among the 6% who wouldn’t want to switch to a four-day workweek, most said they wouldn’t want longer days to make up the work. Nearly half said they’d have to work nine hours or more per day on a four-day schedule, and instead, they’d prefer to spread out their work commitments over a longer period of time.

Even still, many workers already don’t work five full days per week, according to the survey. Among those who don’t have a special schedule — such as summer Fridays — about 1 in 5 work five or fewer hours on Fridays.

“Some businesses may still be hesitant to change to a 4-day workweek, as they will need to renegotiate employment contracts, address holiday pay and decide on a work schedule for part-timers,” Haller said. “However, this change may be worth the challenge as it could also increase employee retention by supporting a better work/life balance.”

The switch to a four-day workweek takes preparation but can offer substantial benefits, company executives who made the switch told HR Dive. Overall, employees were happier, operations were more efficient, and both retention and recruitment increased.

Work schedules and worker productivity remain hot-button topics this year as new studies find conflicting results. Although some reports indicate that worker productivity has been at an all-time low, other recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that labor productivity has increased during the second quarter of 2023. The increase was linked to an increase in output and a decline in hours worked, which was the first decline in hours worked since the second quarter of 2020.

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