The new economic policy of Japan, released recently, suggests that employers adopt a four-day work week so that employees find time to fulfil their educational pursuits and family commitments or simply socialise and relax.
In 2019, Microsoft in Japan had experimented with a shorter work week and discovered that it led to a 40 per cent increase in productivity. Conversations around shorter work weeks have been going on for some time, but only in the margins. The fact that Japan has taken it into account in its national policy is a very positive sign, considering the country has been known for its strict work culture and workaholic population. In fact, Japanese professionals are notorious for putting in about 100 hours of overtime for prolonged periods.
According to the new policy, an extra day off from work will allow employees leisure time and ensure work-life balance, which will have a positive effect on their well-being. This, in turn, will improve productivity and work in favour of the economy.
A shorter work week, it is hoped, will help retain good performers who may otherwise think of quitting to be able to spend time with family.
This will also improve the birth rate in the country, which has been plunging at an alarming rate. It is hoped that with shorter work weeks, the youth will be able to spare more time to think about marriage and starting a family.