U.S. workers are optimistic that employer-sponsored wellness initiatives could enhance their well-being, according to data from the Bentley-Gallup Business in Society Report. When asked to rate the potential impact of six wellness initiatives on well-being, the top three most positively rated are employers offering a four-day workweek option (77%), providing mental health days (74%), and limiting the amount of work employees are expected to perform outside of work hours (73%).
Notably, limiting the number of hours employees are expected to work outside of the workday and offering mental health days receive the highest ratings for a perceived extremely positive impact on well-being (50% and 49%, respectively).
Majorities of workers also said the other policies asked about – related to employers limiting the amount of time employees spend on work emails outside of work and offering free mental health screenings and counseling sessions – would have an extremely or somewhat positive effect on their well-being.
Americans are optimistic about the potential option of a four-day workweek on their well-being. More than three-quarters (77%) of U.S. workers say a four-day, 40-hour workweek would have an extremely or somewhat positive effect on their well-being, while 20% think it would have a neutral effect and 3% a somewhat or extremely negative effect.
Gallup data show that on-site workers with four-day workweeks have higher rates of well-being than their counterparts who work five or six-day workweeks but have no higher rates of engagement with their work. Burnout is slightly higher among those working four days per week than those working five days. The best solutions likely varies by organization, role, job demands, and customer needs.
Younger workers are more optimistic about the effect of a four-day workweek on their well-being: 82% of workers ages 18 to 29 say a four-day workweek would have a somewhat or extremely positive effect on their well-being, compared with 80% of those ages 30 to 44, 76% of those ages 45 to 59 and 69% of those ages 60 and older.
The U.S. is in the midst of a well-being crisis. Just over half of U.S. adults (51%) are classified as “thriving” on Gallup’s Life Evaluation Index, and 5.6% of adults evaluate their lives poorly enough to be considered “suffering,” the highest rate since the index’s inception in 2008.
U.S. workers are also experiencing low levels of well-being and are seeking employers that prioritize their employees’ well-being. Yet, just a quarter (25%) of employees strongly agree that their employer cares about their overall well-being. These trends have many employers considering new approached to addressing well-being. Results from the study indicate many Americans believe various well-being initiatives could have a somewhat or extremely positive impact on well-being. However, more research is needed to fully understand how workplace policies aimed at increased wellness could improve employee engagement and decrease burnout.