According to reports, Panasonic will reportedly offer an optional four-day work week to employees, allowing them to spend less time working and more time enjoying their lives. A shorter working week is one more small step toward a better world.
Panasonic will offer workers a third day off per week, Panasonic CEO Kusumi Yuki announced at an investor briefing on Friday. Employees can use the day to further their studies, volunteer, or even work a side job. Last year, Japan’s annual economic policy guidelines revealed the country would encourage employers to adopt four-day work weeks.
“We must support the wellbeing of our employees,” said Kusumi, as reported by Nikkei Asia.
To support a better work-life balance among its employees, the electronics manufacturer is also improving flexibility by allowing more employees to work from home, and giving them the freedom to turn down job transfers that require them to move. These new policies aren’t clear as to whether they will apply to all employees worldwide, nor whether workers’ compensation or hours will be adjusted to offset the reduced days.
Workers have long been dangled an oasis in the desert called the four-day work week as an ephemeral dream. Iceland reported in 2021 that the world’s largest trial of a shorter work week saw significant gains in workers’ happiness, health, and productivity. In 2019, Microsoft Japan implemented a four-day work week with great success, increasing productivity by almost 40 percent. And New Zealand firm Perpetual Guardian permanently switched to a four-day work week in 2018, after a two-month trial saw a 20 percent boost in productivity.
Reduced work days have been tested and retested all over the world for years, and the results have consistently shown positive results. The shorter work week remains elusive despite overwhelming evidence of its benefits for both employers and employees. Companies continue to drag their feet, stating that it is not feasible, they are special cases, and it would not work in their industry.
However, with the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic causing increased worker dissatisfaction, more employers may be inspired to reconsider their policy in light of the growing anti-work movement.