Charlotteans want a four-day workweek, but few have it

Charlotteans want a four-day workweek, but few have it
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Some readers say that a four-day workweek could be the solution our city’s collective burnout.

Not surprisingly, 85% of people who responded to our recent work-life balance survey said they work five days a week.

  • 10% said they work 6-7 days a week.
  • 64% said they think a four-day workweek would help them achieve a better balance between work and life.

Why it matters: Cutting back the workweek by one day has proven to make some people happier and more productive.

  • With North Carolina’s unemployment rate (4.1%) nearly mirroring the national rate (4.2%), employers are considering all sorts of options for making themselves alluring to top candidates.
  • This past summer, Axios’ Katie Peralta Soloff wrote that many of Charlotte’s top companies were expanding their paid parental leave policies and taking other steps to retain and attract workers.

What they’re saying: “It’s a candidate market right now,” says Dave Holtzman, President of Search Solution Group, a recruiting and headhunting firm that helps fill about 1,000 positions a year for different clients across the U.S. “Candidates can demand a lot more.”

By the numbers: We asked if lowering or reducing workweeks to four days would help improve work-life balance, and here’s what our 2,000-plus respondents said:  

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  • 3% said they already work four days per week.
  • Nearly two-thirds said a four-day workweek would help them achieve better work-life balance. 
  • 35% said a four-day workweek wouldn’t help them achieve a better work-life balance. Many people listed their industry (realty, education, self-employment) as a reason why.

Between the lines: Holtzman says he doesn’t come across a lot of companies offering four-day workweeks. Instead, many are meeting the demand for flexibility.

  • “We’ve seen a huge move toward some type of hybrid or flexible schedule,” Holtzman said.
  • The flip side is employers are looking for dependability. They want to know the work will get done, even if it’s not during the traditional nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday workweek.

Flashback: The 40-hour workweek is a relatively new concept, popularized by Henry Ford in 1914 when he cut his factory hours back from 48 hours.

  • Henry Ford believed that too many hours were bad for workers’ productivity,” according to an NBC report.

    Zoom out: Some countries are cutting back on the number of workdays. Take a look at Iceland, the second happiest place on earth according to CNN.  

    • The entire country adopted a four-day workweek without cutting pay and new research shows it didn’t affect productivity.
    • Employees reported less stress and an improved work-life balance writes Axios’ Yacob Reyes.

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