The Current Generation Overwhelmingly Favors Switching To A Four-Day Workweek

( – During the national health crisis, many Americans realized the traditional work schedule wasn’t necessary for success. Businesses began allowing people to work at home more often and a four-day workweek even picked up steam. A new survey shows younger Americans support working fewer days.

On April 6 and 7, Redfield & Wilton Strategies conducted polling for Newsweek to find out how 4,000 eligible US voters felt about reducing workweeks from five days with 40 hours to four days with 32 hours. The poll found that 63% of Americans supported the idea.

Millennials were the most supportive of the possibility by a wide margin. Seventy-four percent (74%) said they would like a reduced schedule, while 44% said they strongly favored it. Only 8% of millennials opposed the idea.

Baby Boomers were another story. Only 50% of individuals aged 59 and over supported the idea of a shorter work week. Approximately one-third said they did not support or oppose the idea. Only 23% of millennials were neutral.

Some companies have already shifted to shorter weeks. Many of those businesses reported that they noticed higher employee retention and fewer of their workers experienced burnout. Kickstarter, for example, implemented a four-day week in 2022. Chief Strategy Officer Jon Leland told Newsweek that the company did it after realizing “the way we work is way more flexible than [they] thought.” He went on to say the benefits for workers’ “improved life balance […] far outweigh any costs.”

Traditional, five-day, 40-hour workweeks began in the 1920s with Ford Motor Company. Then, in 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) signed the National Industrial Recovery Act into law, which allowed employers to institute 35- to 40-hour workweeks. The Supreme Court eventually struck down that law over an unrelated provision. But in 1938, FDR signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which required employers to pay overtime to workers with more than 40-hour workweeks.

JVS, a non-profit, has also moved to a reduced schedule. CO Lisa Countryman-Quiroz said the traditional workweek is outdated. She explained that her company has also noticed it’s been good for business because her “employees are more productive, report better work-life balance, and experience less burnout.” Most importantly, she said the company’s turnover rate fell by half.

While the reduced schedule works for some companies, it’s not possible for every industry. So, it appears there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for work schedules.

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