Workers Want to Spend More Time With Family If They Could, Study Finds

March 12, 2019, 4:52 PM UTC

Workers want a four-day workweek so they can spend more time with loved ones and take care of their health, according to a newly released survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace.

For its “What Would You Do With More Time? study, the institute asked workers in eight countries how they balance work and their personal lives.

Of respondents from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, 72% said they would work four or less days each week if pay remained the same.

Several countries are testing shorter workweeks. The New Zealand-based company Perpetual Guardian implemented a 32-hour week last year, and the city of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, cut some municipal workers’ weeks by up to five hours, the Huffington Post reported. The four-day workweek was also implemented in some U.S. school districts, including Colorado, Montana, and Oklahoma, Quartz reported.

So what would people do with less work? Employees said they would spend more time with loved ones, traveling, and focusing on their mental and physical health. Respondents from France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. each listed “sleeping more” as one of their top-five priorities, although workers from the U.S. were more interested in more sleep.

A study published in the Sleep journal last year pointed to a trend of sleep deprivation among Americans, with the highest rates reported by black Americans, followed by Hispanics, according to the study. “Poor sleep is a canary in the coal mine,” the study’s co-author Jennifer Ailshire told USC News. “We will see worse health outcomes as a result.”

Despite the desire for more leisure time spent with friends, family, and taking care of their health, 62% of workers surveyed by The Workforce Institute said their workplace offers enough flexibility for a healthy work-life balance. Respondents added that if they had more work time, they would spend it developing new skills to further their careers.

The Workforce Institute think tank is part of Kronos Incorporated, a capital management firm, based in Lowell, Mass.