Panasonic Joins Four-Day Shortened Workweek to Increase Productivity

The Japanese company Panasonic announced that it will join the trend of implementing weeks shortened from 4 business days in an attempt to improve the reconciliation of work and family life, as well as to attract talent and boost the productivity of its employees.

Yahoo Finance reported that the Japanese technology group announced to investors that will begin to offer a third day off a week to those interested: “We must support the well-being of our employees”said the group’s president and CEO Yuki Kusumi.

With this policy, Panasonic aspires to give workers more time so that they dedicate themselves to their personal interests so that they are happierEither doing volunteer activities, a side job or simply dedicating your time to personal matters.

According to the information, a survey conducted in 2020 by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, revealed that only 8% of Japanese companies offer more than two guaranteed days off per week.

Companies joining the shortened weeks are looking to help workers meet the demands of their personal lives. Signatures like Yahoo Japan and Sompo Himawari Life Insurance, began offering a third day off in 2017 to employees who have the need to take care of their children or elderly relatives.

The companies that offer this benefit also begin to register additional benefits of the four-day work week. According to Nikkei Asia, Shionogi Pharmaceuticals, which will offer from April the option of a third day off a week, wants to give workers more time to learn new skills as it enters new business areas, such as healthcare.

Workers value this benefit, systems developer Encourage Technologies adopted the four-day work week in April 2021 and has observed that younger workers value their free time, which has given them an advantage when hiring.

Despite more and more companies joining this international trend, less than 10% of Japanese companies have embraced the idea so far, largely due to management hurdles. Many work centers link wages to the number of days worked and sometimes workers hesitate to take more time off, because they worry that their colleagues will have to take care of absences.

The Japanese work fewer hours than before, but they have the problem that they are at the bottom of the G7 in labor productivity. The four-day work week is expected to be one of the keys to boosting productivity and improving work-life balance.

For his part the Japanese government has said it will promote this concept and that will be discussed in the economic and fiscal negotiations, which must be approved by the cabinet in June.

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