#Support for four-day workweek soars amid coronavirus crisis

Support for four-day workweek soars amid coronavirus crisis

June 5, 2020 | 2:33pm | Updated June 5, 2020 | 2:55pm

The coronavirus crisis has Americans yearning for long weekends.

Four of every five US workers favor switching to a four-day workweek as the pandemic forces them to renegotiate their relationships with their jobs, a new poll shows.

Some 82 percent of employed Americans say they would be somewhat or very willing to work more hours over four days instead of working fewer over five, according to The Harris Poll’s survey conducted last weekend. And 71 percent of those workers think the switch would make them more productive.

“Americans are sort of rethinking everything” amid the coronavirus crisis, Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema told The Post. “They’re rethinking their relationships with their neighbors, they’re rethinking health care … In this time of a rethink, maybe a three-day weekend sounds pretty good.”

The data suggest support for a compressed workweek has grown from May 2019, when 63 percent of workers said they would prefer working four 10-hour days instead of five shorter ones, according to a Marketplace-Edison Research poll.

Former presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang recently urged the US to “seriously consider” a four-day workweek because it would benefit the economy and public health. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a similar call last month, saying it could help revitalize the country’s economy and boost domestic tourism.

The shift comes as companies move their employees to at-home work to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. That has come with its own set of challenges for US workers, Gerzema said — more than half of those working at home say they’re working more now than when they were in the office.

Support for a four-day week likely reflects workers’ desire to set some boundaries in the work-from-home era while grappling with their continued worries about the virus, according to Gerzema.

Only 48 percent of Americans say they’ll return to the office within a month once the government indicates it’s safe, while 39 percent of urban residents say the virus crisis has made them consider moving to a less dense place, recent Harris surveys have found.

“It’s a real fact that we see in our data — people become good at working from home, they understand it,” Gerzema told The Post. “Could this whole thing really be a negotiation for a new lifestyle change that might also provide a little more economic shelter?”

The Harris Poll survey was conducted online from May 29 to 31 with a sample of 1,965 US adults, 1,076 of whom said they were employed.


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