- Businesses in Japan are shifting to a four-day work week to help employees balance personal and work responsibilities, reports the Nikkei Asian Review. Employers expect the shortened work week to allow more workers with child- and elder-care duties to keep working and therefore lower Japan’s labor shortage.
- To retain workers, KFC Holdings Japan is allowing its 20-hours-a-week employees to take off three days of their choice per week, says the Review. Yahoo Japan, the Uniglo casual clothing chain and nursing care operator Uchiyama Holdings are also making the shift to a four-day workweek.
- The Review says that Japan’s elder-care sector has severe labor shortages because the work is considered difficult; therefore, elevating working conditions, such as shortening the work week, is vital.
U.S. companies have been toying with a four-day work week for years. Some have opted instead for half-day Fridays, flextime, telecommuting and work-share arrangements to promote work-life balance.
Shorter work weeks usually mean longer workdays. Eight-hour days will likely turn into 10-hour days if employers want to relieve employees’ stress while increasing or maintaining current productivity levels.
Employers who haven’t yet adopted a four-day work week but are considering making the switch might want to conduct an internal survey for employees’ take on whether a longer workday is worth the change.