Survey: 90% of working Americans want 4-day work week, flexibility

Aug 29, 2023, 7:00 AM


(Flickr stock photo)

(Flickr stock photo)

With Labor Day weekend ahead and the pandemic largely behind us, Americans are pushing for changes to their work schedules.

A new Bankrate survey found 90% of full-time employees want to work four days a week, work remotely, or work half the time in the office and the other half at home.

“Most of those workers are willing to make a sacrifice of some kind to have that additional flexibility,” economic analyst Mark Hamrick told KIRO Newsradio.

Bankrate found the most popular option is a four-day workweek.

More from Heather Bosch: Celebration of life for Tokitae to take place in Friday Harbor

“Fifty-four percent of workers said they’re willing to work longer hours. Nearly 4 in 10 say they’re even willing to change jobs or industries,” Hamrick said. “I think that’s quite remarkable. About 1 in 4 say they’re willing to come into the office more or work odd hours — not just 9 to 5 — and about 1 in 5 said they’re willing to take a job they’re less passionate about.”

You can blame — or credit — the pandemic.

“We’ve all been enlightened, so to speak, about how we can do work differently,” Hamrick said. “Having really had the example of the opportunity to work remote or work hybrid or to have just some higher degrees of flexibility, the cat is out of the bag with respect to all of this and there’s no putting it back.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 9.6 million job openings in the U.S. at the end of June.

Hamrick said employers might give themselves an “edge” if they offer prospective employees more of the flexibility they want, but not every business is heading in that direction. One significant example is Seattle-based online retailer Amazon, which is requiring workers to come back to the office. The company claimed the decision to bring employees back promotes collaboration.

Meanwhile, in San Juan County, the San Juan County Council approved the move to move to a four-day, 32-hour work week last week, by unanimous vote. Workers will get the same pay as they did in a 40-hour week.

San Juan County is the first in the state and one of the first in the country to go to a 32-hour workweek. The county said it could not come up with the money the union wanted, so it came up with this solution.

The county said it won’t be taking away any services to the island residents, but office hours might be shorter.

Related: Gee and Ursula discuss San Juan County’s big move

Hamrick said employers and employees are still assessing what works best for them.

“Ultimately, it’s going to matter about results across the board: How are we doing with retention and recruitment of new team members; how are we doing with our productivity; how are we doing maintaining the culture that we want to have,” he said. “Those are things that are in motion and hopefully evolution in a positive sense.”

Contributing: Bill Kaczaraba, MyNorthwest.com

Follow Heather Bosch on Twitter or email her here.

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Survey: 90% of working Americans want 4-day work week, flexibility