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Some municipal governments in Japan are experimenting with a four-day workweek, in which employees work extra hours on workdays and take a day off in addition to the weekend. Is this a good idea?

16 Comments

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Sounds good to me. I wish my employer would offer such an option.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Get ready for pay deductions, that is the real plan.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

If the government offices are open longer as a result, that is good news; as the average citizen or resident can visit for business outside of their normal working hours. But if hours are reduced, or services are restricted, that is bad news.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

If they work a 40-hour week, more power to them. But I somehow doubt that's the case.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If they work a 40-hour week...

Japanese government workers do work during their time at the office. That's why ward offices, etc are so efficient. It's the private sector where people just hang around the office for hour after hour into the evening doing nothing so they can show "commitment."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I had a friend who was working in a company that had a 4-day workweek setup. Said friend said they had more time to live life. But you'll basically have nothing else to do because you're working 10 hours.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That only works in counties where 40 hours a week is the norm and overtime needs to be approved. But it isn't possible in places with 9 to 9 five days a week.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes, definitely!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

5 day work weeks have become redundant. Switching to 4 or 4 and a half (Fridays being a half day) is more than sufficient. Every now and then if there's an important deadline to meet or an urgent project then employees can come in an extra day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As long as the work needed is done and services are efficient, I see no harm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a great idea on paper. Working ten hours a day four days to make up 40 hours makes good sense. However, I don't know of any Japanese salary earner who only works 40 hours a week. I fear it will be abused to get more working hours out of staff. Who remembers Premium Friday? ..... Exactly!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Every Japanese company and municipal office is different. I worked for a Japanese biomedical company in International Business Development for 20 years and my favorite expression was that sometimes the Japanese miss the forest for the trees and furthermore, seem to masturbate to please their bosses (needless work), but nothing gets pregnant. One day, in fact, I was so frustrated at the work being given to me (producing spreadsheets analyzing sales by country by product, ie, lots of meaningless numbers) such that I said in the meeting to discuss these numbers, that I simply am not doing this anymore! They did not want to lose me as an employee so they thought about it land later agreed. Fortunately, we were only a group of 10 or so at the time and were freer than the much larger domestic sales and marketing section. It just had to be said because I knew my Japanese colleagues at my level could not say it themselves. From there we streamlined this type of work and more and grew more quickly.

Indeed, if ever there was a business opportunity in Japan it would be to form a consultancy group whose main goal was go into Japanese companies and look at what exactly they are doing, and tell them what is necessary and what is not. They could remove so much unnecessary work that employees could work a 4 and a 1/2 day workweeks and still maintain their sales and productivity.

In short, this article may be for municipal workers but it could be used in other non-governmental companies if they would also analyze what type of work is really valuable to profitability and accordingly reduce the number of hours required to come to the office to give men a chance to make babies! Of course, I am not so naive to think this will happen any time soon, except for maybe at some more innovative companies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Absolutely. I also recommend remote working where it is doable. If you can't change the toxic environment of the Japanese workplace, then limit exposure to it as much as possible to decrease the damage done from it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Weren’t they already working extra hours though, which was the whole issue?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I used to work the 10 hour 4 days a week many years ago and enjoyed my 3 day weekends.

It worked as we had decided not have meetings on Fridays and may not work for some in positions where their presence is required 5 days a week.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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