4-day workweek is the top additional benefit employees want, Bank of America report finds

Dive Brief:

  • Sixty-four percent of employees responding to a Bank of America survey said they wanted a four-day workweek, making it the top desired benefit in addition to their current slate of offerings — but only 42% of responding employers said they’d like to offer one. 
  • Bank of America found that workers are overall feeling more confident, with 47% rating themselves “financially well,” compared to 42% in 2023. But they remain concerned about inflation and the cost of living. Workers also cited better compensation as the top factor that could lure them away from their current jobs.
  • The financial firm also found gaps in workers’ experiences: Men said they were more financially secure, more confident in their retirement savings and more amenable to in-office work. But slightly more women said they felt better about their career outlook. Bank of America surveyed 955 employees and 804 employers over the winter for its report.

Dive Insight:

What employees say they most value seems to fluctuate with trends in the economy and culture. While inflation has cooled somewhat from its historic peak in 2022, workers are still feeling the impact. More than half of U.S. adults told The Harris Poll and the American Staffing Association in January that their paychecks were still not keeping up with inflation, and nearly 4 in 10 said they were in an even more stressful situation than the year before. 

While Bank of America found feelings of financial wellness appear to be trending upward, the numbers still aren’t stellar, with fewer than half of workers reporting their financial wellness was good or excellent. Slightly over half of men reported high financial well-being, while women lagged behind at 36%. 

But employers shouldn’t worry too much about employees leaving for new jobs; Bank of America also found 70% of workers plan to stay at their company for the next year, reflecting a trend that some are calling “the big stay.” 

What may be more surprising is why employees said they’d stay — a good work/life balance topped the list, with 60% saying they’d stay for this reason, compared to 53% for compensation — as well as the additional benefit employees say they most want: a four-day workweek. The numbers suggest that while good compensation is a baseline need, employees deeply value their personal time and, beyond a certain point, may be unwilling to trade it for more money. 

The push for a four-day workweek has gained steam in recent years. Last August, three-quarters of respondents to a Resume Builder survey said they’d switch jobs for a four-day workweek and 1 in 3 said they’d take a pay cut. The benefit is still exceedingly rare, however; an Indeed analysis found that while more job postings mention four-day workweeks, that number only rose from 0.1% in September 2019 to 0.3% in September 2023.