Microsoft Experimented 4 Days Work Week In Japan, Should India Also Adopt The Same?

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With the aging populace and the culture of worshipping work, a new experiment is made by the tech giant Microsoft in Japan to cut the hassle. The working days were reduced to 4 days per week from the norm of 5 days per week which surprisingly turned out to be highly effective. The country that values family time as much it values work embraced the concept of new freedom, thus contributing to the increase in productivity by 40%.

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The country that values family time as much it values work embraced the concept of new freedom, thus contributing to the increase in productivity by 40%. This experiment backs the fact that a better work-life balance contributes to higher efficiency thus raising the overall output of the nation.  

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Microsoft reported that about 23% less electricity and printed 59% fewer pages during the experiment. A 2017 Stanford Study shows that employees are willing to give up 20% of their pay for flexible working hours. The length of the average working hours required in Japan is 80 hours per week for which huge criticism was made after a person committed suicide on Christmas after working excessive overtime. 

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This makes us realize the menace or the ills of overworking especially in Asian countries like China, India, Japan & South Korea which are affected by the culture of overworking. Not to forget the ills of overpopulation & poverty affecting the working of the economy, where people have no option but to work in order to survive & grow.   Recently a surge of overworked employees trended on Twitter wherein issues such as overworking for more than 40 hours, unrealistic expectations at work, workplace depression increased over the last 5 years.

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  The skewed ratio of demand & supply in Indian industries has led to the lowering of the wage rates despite being the hardest working with 52 hours per week, while the average for the US is 45 & the UK is 41.   With 65% of the population below the age of 35, it’s time that we look into the issue of long commuting hours & long working hours, burnout & constant disconnect with loved ones to leverage the benefit of demographic dividend.  

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The Japanese government came up with the program of taking the first Monday of the month off along with a flexible option of taking Fridays off in order to promote better work-life balance.    Similarly, a compelling case was made at the World Economic Forum 2019 to switch to 4 day work week. 

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A similar approach should be made by the policymakers in India, adding to the point that law has its own limitations with the real change to come up from the management of the organizations and employees to value efficiency & productivity over the conventional practice of long working hours, as done by a few companies like the SAP Labs, Philips & Coca Cola.

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  It is said that the reduction of working days is much of a safety net so that employees do not have to give up their jobs to take care of the elderly in aging Japan, but we would say that the initiative by Microsoft is much commendable one & we would appreciate if other organizations would come up with the solutions to handle this menace affecting entire Asia.

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