The Japanese electronics company Panasonic wants to switch to a 4-day week on a large scale. The aim is to gain an advantage in the competition for good talent, but also to increase the well-being and productivity of employees. “We have to promote the well-being of our employees,” said CEO Yuki Kusumi, according to a report in the business newspaper Nikkei at a briefing for investors. In a first step, employees who wish to do so should be given a third day off per week.
Gradually, the entire work structure in the company should then be adjusted over time. The Panasonic management wants to give the employees more time to pursue their own interests, be it for voluntary work, further training or a part-time job. At first glance, this sounds like the employees will then put less effort into their job. However, studies with corresponding pilot projects have shown that the opposite is the case.
More energy per job
Microsoft had tested a 4-day week in its Japanese subsidiary in 2019 – but not permanently. At that time, employee productivity increased by up to 40 percent. Other companies reported similar results. Various factors contribute to this: on the one hand, people are more satisfied with their job and hang out more, on the other hand, there is no longer any working hours, during which the employees are no longer as productive.
Most of the Vorste are currently in Japan, which contradicts the stereotype of the workoholic nation. However, Japan has long ceased to be one of the countries with the highest working hours. According to data from the OECD, people are even slightly below average, while in the USA, Russia and South Korea, for example, people work significantly longer.
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