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4-Day Work Weeks; A New Trend In Asia

Workers across all large companies are in favour of 4-day work weeks. With the pandemic, more and more companies are prompted to change their approach to work.

4-Day Work Weeks; A New Trend In Asia

Shorter work weeks are on the table as more and more governments and companies are carefully testing 4-day work weeks. 

Japan, known for its long working hours, is at the helm of this trend. Hitachi recently announced testing this truncated model for 15,000 employed by the end of this Financial year. Pokemon game creator GameFreak, along with other companies like NEC, and Panasonic Holding, also announced similar ideas. 

South Korean ed-tech company Eduwill implemented this mode way back in 2019. Following its footsteps last year, peer to peer, Indonesian lender Alami also introduced the same last year, and India is also said to implement the same with their new labor codes. 

Workers across all large companies are in favour of shortened workweeks. With the pandemic, more and more companies are prompted to change their approach to work. 

There’s more to the story than just a pandemic-induced change. Japan has been tackling the issue of karoshi, known as “death from overwork,” for decades. In fact, just in 2021, there was a 43% increase in karoshi-related compensation. The suicide of a 24-year-old employee sparked public outrage against the toxic culture. 

Neighbours South Korea and China are also grappling with the same problem of overworking. However, there is no correlation between long working hours and productivity. This is backed by a recent Asian Productivity Organisation report that many Southeast Asian countries trail behind Western companies in terms of productivity. 

Experts argue a successful 4 day work week can only be implemented with government support. Legislations in western countries prescribe the number of work hours per week and graciously pay for overtime work.

The Chinese government slammed down the idea citing reducing productivity, among other reasons. 

Practical challenges need to be addressed, such as increased workload on certain employees and complex overtime pay calculations. Proper planning is required to make this four-day workweek a success. 

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