Yahoo! Japan to cut work week down to 4 days following karoshi threats

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The company is now considering the introduction of a four-day work week with a three-day weekend.

The Japanese have been dreading karoshi— death caused due to overwork. In fact, Japan is probably the only country to even have a specific term for something like that. Organisations with rigid work cultures in the country have lately faced huge criticism from employees and people across the globe following reports of multiple suicides.

Shockingly, about 22 per cent of employees work long hours and find work intruding into important aspects of personal life—taking time away from relationships, for instance. With such rising concerns around the same, businesses and authorities in Japan have been trying to bring a change. Last year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a task force to improve the work–life balance in the country.

In line with this, the latest of such efforts has been a government-sponsored campaign, called Premium Friday, which encourages companies to shorten the workdays by one Friday every month. Some companies are moving beyond that, forcing workers to head home at a certain time or allowing work-from-home days over a month or a week.

One of the companies leading the change is Yahoo Japan, which unlike its US counterpart—where work-life balance was notoriously not a priority for CEO Marissa Mayer—has been trying to promote a healthier work culture. The company is now considering the introduction of a four-day work week with a three-day weekend.

This move is expected to provide various advantages to the company, one of them being cost savings without sacrificing productivity. The company is hoping that the decision to allow more flexibility and freedom will enable employees to choose a style that helps improve their productivity.

Yahoo Japan also allows its 5,800 employees to work remotely five days a month, and gives employees who live far from its offices a monthly allowance of ¥15,000 ($130) to take the bullet train.

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