Due to the toll long working hours are taking on workers and their productivity, the idea of a four day work week is spreading throughout Asia.
The concept of a four-day workweek is gaining traction throughout Asia.
According to a new article from Nikkei Asia, the notion is being tried since extended working hours are taking a toll on workers (and their productivity). Japan is leading the charge, with its “punishing” work culture, according to Nikkei.
Last month, Hitachi announced that approximately 15,000 of its employees would be given four-day workweeks. They were quickly followed by Game Freak, the firm that created the Pokemon series.
Persol Holdings, a Japanese hiring firm, polled 1,000 employees to find out what new policies they would like to see introduced. The largest group of responders, 23.5 %, claimed they desired 3 or 4 day workweeks.
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According to Nikkei, more than 2,800 claims for karoshi (meaning “death from overwork”) were filed in the year leading up to March 2021. This is a 43 % increase from ten years ago.
Panasonic Holdings and NEC are also considering the shift, and the concept is gaining traction across Asia.
Since last year, Alami, an Indonesian lending company, has started working four-day weeks. Eduwill, a South Korean education firm, has been working on the schedule since 2019, and was the first in its field to do so.
India is also exploring it, with four labor codes expected to be implemented this year that will change working hours and wages. Workers will be able to work four days a week as a result of the adjustments.
According to Nikkei, China and South Korea have a reputation for overworking their citizens:
In China’s “996” work culture, pervasive in its tech sector, employees toil from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. South Koreans on average worked 1,908 hours in 2020, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the highest in Asia and 221 hours more than the OECD average.
“Japan’s overtime is a bargain,” said Yoshie Komuro, CEO of the Tokyo-based consultancy Work Life Balance. Kumoro suggested that governments should push for firms to “effectively evaluate employee productivity.”