Surveys show growing support for shorter workweeks

The shift in public opinion in favor of a 4-day workweek continues. In the UK, The Independent reports:

Nearly two-thirds of the public and more than half of Conservative voters [in the UK] believe the government should explore the introduction of a four-day working week in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows….

According to the new research by pollsters Survation, 29 per cent of respondents said they “strongly support” the government exploring a four-day week, while 33 per cent said “somewhat support”.

Just six per cent said they were “strongly opposed” to the measure, and a further 7 per cent said they “somewhat oppose” while 20 per cent of those polled said they “neither support nor oppose” the introduction of the policy.

Among those who voted for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives at December’s general election, 56 per cent said they either strongly or somewhat support the government considering the policy to reduce the working week.

That shift in attitudes among Tory supporters, who only a few months ago were told that the 4-day week was a crazy scheme hatched by the GRU, is really notable. But maybe arguments about the conservative case for a 4-day week are making inroads.

The survey, which contacted 2,003 adults living in the UK, was commissioned by Autonomy, which has been at the forefront of advocacy for the 4-day week in the UK.

Another survey, this time in Belgium, finds support for shorter working hours is even higher:

More than 70% of Belgians are looking for a way to drastically reduce the hours they work post coronavirus, a new study has shown.

Conducted by the Catholic University of Leuven (UCLouvain) in collaboration with the University of Saint-Louis and the Socialist Centre for Continuing Education (CESEP), the study showed that 73% of Belgians support a radical reduction in working hours in the period following the coronavirus epidemic.

The study also looked at the broader impact of coronavirus on employment, and situations throughout the country. Of those asked, 90% to want change in terms of employment in some capacity…. [They] saw at least one advantage to teleworking, particularly in terms of travel, flexible working hours and combining work with family obligations.

However, flexible work does have its downsides:

While 63% of the workers experienced changes in their working conditions during the confinement period, these various changes were a source of new difficulties for 93% of them…. For 41% of the women who responded to the survey, the combination of their job and family responsibilities was a source of greater fatigue, compared with 31% of the male respondents.

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