- Tram Ho
Wage workers in Japan are being encouraged to reduce their working hours in an office environment. This is part of a government initiative to improve work-life balance in the country.
The recently released annual economic policies include new recommendations that companies should allow their employees to choose to work four days a week instead of the usual five days a week.
Working 4 days/1 week
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought major changes to the way Japanese corporations operate, although many are still very rigid and traditional.
Political leaders now hope to convince company leaders that flexible working hours, remote working, increasingly close contacts and connections, and a host of other developments can be beneficial. if they are maintained even after the health crisis is over.
Japan proposes 4 days/1 week working mode
In a document referring to the four-day-a-week policy, the Japanese government says this can help companies retain qualified and experienced employees who may have to leave. go if they are raising a family or taking care of an elderly relative.
According to the government, a four-day workweek will also encourage more people to have the opportunity to further their education, improve their qualifications or even do side jobs besides their main job.
Most importantly, authorities hope that an extra day off each week will encourage people to get out and spend, which in turn helps boost the economy.
Experts also predict that young people will have more time to meet, get married and have children, solving the increasingly serious problem of declining birth rates, declining population and aging rates. increasingly high.
Martin Schulz, chief policy economist at Fujitsu Ltd.’s Global Market Information Division, told DW: “The government is really interested in changing the mentality that is so deeply ingrained in Japanese companies. Copy”.
Japanese authorities have recently been looking for a number of ways to fix the sluggish national economy. Thus, reforming the lifestyle and working style of millions of Japanese has become the effective method targeted by the government.
Mr. Schulz said: “During the pandemic, companies have moved to new ways of operating, and they are seeing a gradual increase in productivity. Companies are putting their employees to work in the country. home or remotely, at satellite offices or at a customer’s location, which can be more convenient and efficient for many people.”
Streamlining company’s human resources
Schulz pointed out that Fujitsu seized the opportunity when the company completely cut 50% of the office space at its headquarters in Tokyo and moved employees to work remotely.
“In the future, there will be some people in my department in the office but it will be very rare for all of us to be there together and that space is mainly for face-to-face meetings that cannot be done remotely. “, he said.
However, there are limitations to the government’s plans, especially as Japan has experienced a labor shortage due to fewer young people entering the workforce.
While Japanese workers find the idea of a four-day work week appealing, they also worry about a pay cut and fear being accused of not being fully committed to their company.
Junko Shigeno has just finished her business and language studies and has received several job offers at large corporations, but instead chose a smaller IT company, far away from home. because she feels the company’s “philosophy” is right for her.
“I did a lot of research on companies that offered me full-time positions, and I spoke to four or five employees in each,” she said. “I was shocked when one of the women I asked burst into tears when talking about work-life balance.”
One of the biggest problems faced by young people today is unpaid overtime, which is known as “service overtime”. The company that Shigeno will join has promised that she will never have to work more than 15 hours a month.
One of the other companies that interviewed her said that she should be prepared to work about 60 hours of overtime per month.
‘Death from overwork’
The Japanese media regularly feature cases of young employees falling ill from working long hours or taking their own lives due to stress. Known as “karoshi” – or death from overwork, investigations often determine that workers have suffered a severe breakdown after working more than 100 consecutive hours of overtime over several months.
“That’s not for me,” Shigeno said. “I’m looking forward to working and learning new skills, but I also want to have my own time, meet family and friends, and pursue my hobbies. That’s very important to me and that’s it. the reason I chose this company.”
For Schulz, the key lies in increasing productivity.
“Over the last year, employees have shown that they don’t need to be in the office five days a week and stay late at night to stay productive,” he said.
He added: “The biggest risk right now is that some companies will go back to the old way of doing things and ask all their employees to come to the office all day. For those companies that don’t make the same mistake. that mistake, the result is a win-win for both sides.”
Source : Genk