In Japan, Panasonic will offer a four-day workweek.

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In Japan, Panasonic will offer a four-day workweek.

When employees have more flexibility with their schedules, their productivity rises.

According to a new report from Nikkei Asia, Panasonic has announced plans to offer employees in Japan a four-day workweek in an effort to boost productivity and attract better employees.

The move follows official government recommendations to private employers in 2021, which included a shorter workweek.

The four-day workweek has been proposed in various forms all over the world, from Finland to New Zealand.

Shorter weeks sometimes simply mean that employers lengthen the four days of work while keeping the weekly hours close to 40.

Other times, businesses will offer a shorter workweek with fewer total hours so that employees can devote more time to their hobbies or education.

According to Nikkei, President and CEO Yuki Kusumi recently said, “We must support the well-being of our employees.”

Nikkei reports:

Panasonic hopes to give employees more time to pursue personal interests, such as volunteering or working on the side.

Each operating company will work out the details.

In a 2020 survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, only 8% of Japanese companies offered more than two guaranteed days off per week.

Those that do, such as Yahoo Japan and Sompo Himawari Life Insurance, which began offering a third day off in 2017 exclusively to those caring for children or aging relatives, are usually looking to help workers meet the demands of their personal lives.

Companies that have experimented with a shorter work week while maintaining competitive pay have found no decrease in productivity.

In fact, tech companies have discovered that cutting hours leads to increased productivity and employee satisfaction.

According to the Washington Post, when Microsoft in Japan tried out a four-day workweek in 2019, productivity increased by 40%.

According to the most recent data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, despite having a reputation in the United States as a workaholic culture, Japanese workers work fewer hours than their American counterparts.

The United States came in 11th place in terms of average worker hours worked…

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