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Japan: Firms try out 4-day workweek to offer staff more flexibility

Japan: Firms try out 4-day workweek to offer staff more flexibility
Japan: Firms try out 4-day workweek to offer staff more flexibility

Many Japanese companies are reportedly offering employees the option to work four days a week, instead of the standard five, to give them more flexibility to improve their work-life balance and take care of their household responsibilities or learn new skills outside of their workplace.

While firms can benefit from the compressed work schedule as it can prevent staff from leaving and attract new talent, it is yet to be seen how much traction this work style will gain in the country.

Recently, Panasonic Holdings Corp embraced the four-day work-week, after stating last month that it will be offering its employees the option to take a third day off in the current financial year through March.

The announcement follows a statement the Japanese government made last year, where it encouraged companies to provide an optional four-day workweek during its annual economic policy guideline, reasoning that it would benefit employees for various purposes, including child-raising, taking care of elderly family members, and even volunteering.

Other firms that have introduced the scheme on an experimental basis include, Mizuho Financial Group Inc, Hitachi Ltd, and Fast Retailing Co.

Recently in April, drugmaker Shionogi & Co also started allowing workers to take a third day off so they may acquire new skills or build a network of contacts by taking up either additional education or a second job.

The pharma company sees the four-day workweek as an opportunity for its employees to gain knowledge in the digital field as it aims to extend its healthcare services with digital platforms, according to the company’s public relations official.

However, in a Mynavi Corp survey of 800 individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, 78.5% claimed that they did not want a third day off if it meant a cut in their pay, while 60.1% said that a four-day week would be impossible to implement at their workplace.

They gave various reasons ranging from having too much workload to being understaffed.

Some disadvantages of the scheme include difficulty in managing shifts and lack of communication among staff, as per researcher Murata at Recruit Works Institute.

Source credit: https://japantoday.com/category/business/focus-japan-inc.-turns-to-4-day-workweek-to-offer-flexibility-to-employees

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Aakriti Rao

Aakriti Rao

Aakriti Rao has always had a flair to pen down crisp and quirky content. A qualified English Literature graduate, Aakriti’s forte lies in creating content for varied genres in an utmost interactive way. Presently, she works as a content developer and writes articles spanning the latest business trends, market research, and industry news for Cue Report.