Goodbye 9-5: 56% of U.S. Employees Want a 4-Day, 40-Hour Workweek

woman working on her laptop at a coffee shop

Between the pandemic and the corresponding ‘Great Resignation,’ many companies have been forced to become more flexible with their employees. 

It begs the question, will the traditional 9 to 5, in-person office workplace soon be a thing of the past? 

In May of 2022, our market research company surveyed over 2,000 U.S. employees across various industries to ask about their current working conditions and preferences. 

Key findings from the survey included:

  • The ideal meeting time for most Americans is any time between 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Thursday is the least preferred day to attend a meeting
  • Despite the rise of virtual conferences, 56% of Americans still prefer in-person work meetings.
  • 54% of employees prefer their cameras off during video work meetings
  • 56% of Americans would rather work a 40-hour work week in 4-days instead of 5 days
  • Better pay and benefits are the most enticing factors to encourage employees to work in-person full-time

Keep reading to learn more statistics and findings from our study.


 

The ideal meeting time for most Americans is any time between 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Our research found that 72% of Americans attend meetings as part of their job, whether it be with co-workers, customers, clients, vendors, etc.

When attending these work meetings, many prefer a time in the morning to mid-morning (78%).

When asked what time of the day Americans prefer to attend a work meeting, these were their answers:

  • Mid-morning (any time between 10:00 am to 12:00 pm) 41%
  • Early morning (any time before 10:00 am) 37%
  • Early afternoon (any time between 12:00 to 3:00 pm) 15%
  • Late afternoon (any time between 3:00 to 5:00 pm) 7%

 

Thursday is the least preferred day to attend a meeting.

While many assume Monday and Friday are the least effective days to hold a meeting due to some taking extended three-day weekends, neither were the least preferred. 

In fact, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the days our survey respondents would prefer to attend a work meeting the most. 

As the week progresses, these meetings become less desirable as only 7% of Americans enjoy Thursday meetings.

When asked what day Americans prefer to attend a work meeting, these were their answers:

  • Monday (28%)
  • Tuesday (28%)
  • Wednesday (28%)
  • Friday (9%)
  • Thursday (7%)

 

Despite the rise of virtual conferences, 56% of Americans still prefer in-person work meetings. 

In recent years, the new working normal seemed to take place 100% online. Many organizations were forced to adapt to a remote, making virtual meetings the status quo. However, today’s workplace has not remained completely reshaped as once predicted.

In 2022, over 1 in 2 U.S. workers prefer to attend a work meeting in person. While only 34% of people prefer video chat. Even fewer most enjoy meetings over the phone (10%)

When asked how people prefer to attend a work meeting, these were their answers:

  • In-person (56%)  
  • Video chat (34%)
  • Phone call (10%)

 

54% of employees prefer their cameras off during video work meetings. 

Despite most wanting to attend work meetings in-person, the face-to-face interaction does not translate to video work calls. 

When attending a work video chat, 54% prefer to have their camera off, while 46% prefer to have their camera on.



56% of Americans would rather work a 40-hour work week in 4-days instead of 5 days.

Discussions about implementing four-day workweeks have been reignited in recent years.

With a healthy work/life balance being one of the most important factors when working for a company, the flexibility of a shorter workweek could be worth considering.

When asked which of the following schedules U.S. employees would most prefer for a 40-hour workweek, here were their answers: 

  • 56% reported a four-day work week, 10 hours per day
  • 44% reported a five-day work week, 8 hours per day

A few countries across the globe have offered a four-day workweek for those who want it. For instance, the United Kingdom introduced a six-month pilot program on June 6th to measure the effectiveness of shorter working hours

70,000 UK companies and over 3,000 employees are a part of the trial that will run until January 2023. They will work one day less a week while receiving the same pay.

It certainly seems like something many in the American workforce would also be interested in joining.


 

2 in 5 American employees prefer a casual dress code policy for work. 

Dress codes are often used to communicate to staff members what the employer considers appropriate attire for work. Depending on the job, they can vary from business professional to uniforms to no formal dress code at all. 

Our survey found that 43% of employees prefer a casual dress code the most. 

Other common answers for preferred work attire include:

  • Business casual (34%)
  • No dress code at all (13%)
  • Business professional (10%)

 

A good work culture outweighs having a bad manager for 53% of the U.S. workforce.

If you work with someone who constantly complains or who mistreats fellow employees, you may dread coming to work even if you like your job.

Employees have a profound impact on their co-workers' job performance and job satisfaction, and a poor work ethic and attitude can drive colleagues to other employers.

We asked respondents, “If you had to choose, what type of working environment would you prefer?” Here was the response.

  • 53% of employees would prefer working for a company with a good culture, even if they have a bad manager
  • 47% of employees would prefer working for a company with a bad culture because they have a good manager 

 

Employees reported a healthy work/life balance and good compensation are the most important factors when working for a company.

There are many components of a job outside of the type of work employees do that can impact their feelings about an employer. It’s important to understand and implement these factors to help increase employee retention. 

According to our research, a healthy work/life balance (19%) and good compensation/bonus packages (19%) are the two factors that are most important to employees when working for a company.

Other top important factors include:

  • Good relationships with managers and co-workers (15%)
  • Good benefits packages (14%)
  • Flexible work environments (10%)
  • Good company culture (10%)
  • Provides paid vacation and sick time (6%)
  • Professional development opportunities (5%)
  • A good paid parental-leave policy (3%)

 

In June of 2022, 62% of U.S. Employees are working fully in person. 

After working remotely for years, many organizations questioned if offering a virtual workspace should become permanent. For instance, companies like Lyft, Coinbase, and Reddit have all permanently switched to a hybrid work environment.

However, from our research, the majority of U.S. employees are working fully in person (62%).

21% of respondents reported working a mix of working remotely and in person, and even fewer reporting working fully remotely (17%).

Furthermore, 76% of the employees who are working remotely full-time or part-time, say they are working virtually as their personal choice. 


 

Better pay and benefits are the most enticing factors to encourage employees to work in person full-time. 

Pandemic or not, many companies do not believe 100% remote work or a hybrid model is the future of work. As organizations try to woo people back to the office, there are only a few driving factors that would entice employees to work in-person full-time. 

53% of U.S. workers say better pay would encourage them to work fully in person, and 42% report better benefits would be a drawing factor.   

Other perks for encouraging a full-time, in-person work model included:

  • More company perks such as a stipend for your car, phone, gym membership, etc. (30%)
  • Unlimited vacation time (28%)
  • Working with friends (24%)
  • Company-provided lunches (21% )
  • Nothing would encourage me to go back to working in the office full-time (20%)
  • More company outings such as happy hours (16%)

 

About the Survey

Gender

  • Male (47%)
  • Female (53%)

Age

  • Born in or before 1945 (1%)
  • Born 1946 to 1964 (21%)
  • Born 1965 to 1980 (33%)
  • Born 1981 to 1996 (37%)
  • Born 1997 to 2004 (8%)

Job Status

  • Full-time (83%)
  • Part-time (17%)

Industry

  • Accommodation and food services (6%)
  • Construction (7%)
  • Education 12%
  • Healthcare 17%
  • Manufacturing 11%
  • Retail trade (13%)
  • Social assistance/non-profit (3%)
  • Other services excluding public administration (i.e., funeral home, dry cleaning, pet grooming) (6%)
  • Other industries (25%)

 

About Drive Research

Drive Research is a national PR survey company located in Syracuse, New York. Our market research firm works with a variety of organizations, helping deliver insights, action items, and ROI on their survey efforts.

Our research has been featured in top-tier media outlets including USA Today, CNBC, Forbes, Spectrum, Yahoo Finance, and Statista. 

To learn more about our market research services, contact our team today.

  1. Message us on our website
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emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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