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With worker burnout on the rise, support for shorter workweek grows: survey

Photo: olm26250/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA — Around half of U.S. workers are burned out, and more than 4 out of 5 believe a four-day workweek would lessen the feeling, results of a recent survey show.

On behalf of management consulting firm Eagle Hill Consulting, market research company Ipsos surveyed a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. workers in August. Results show that 53% of the respondents said they’re burned out at work. Around half of the respondents indicated the COVID-19 pandemic has caused them to reevaluate their career and life.

Workload was cited as the top cause for burnout (52%), followed by lack of communication (44%), balancing work and personal life (35%), and time pressures (32%).

A third of the respondents said they plan to leave their employer in the next year – up from 29% in May and 26% in November 2020. However, roughly 2 out of 3 respondents said they value their employer more now than when the pandemic began.

When asked about ways to reduce burnout, 84% of the respondents pointed to increased flexibility, and 83% suggested a four-day workweek.

“Employee burnout was simmering even before the pandemic, and now it’s boiled over for more than half of workers,” Eagle Hill President and CEO Melissa Jezior said in a press release. “It’s simply an unsustainable situation for a business when burnout is rising and the labor shortage continues. This means leaders must fully understand what is working and what isn’t for employees, and then collaborate on specific solutions that will work for an organization’s business strategy and the workforce.


“It’s complicated because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, a four-day workweek may work well for some businesses, but it’s impossible for others.”

On July 27, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced legislation that would reduce the standard 40-hour workweek to 32 hours. H.R. 4728 hasn’t advanced out of the House Education and Labor Committee.

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