Panasonic is offering employees the option of taking a four-day workweek, freeing them up to take side jobs, volunteer, or just relax.
According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), Panasonic joins a small but growing list of companies that are offering flexible working situations for employees, in the hopes of increasing worker productivity and happiness.
“Our responsibility is to strike an ideal balance between the work style and life style for our diverse human capital,” Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi said on a call with investors.
A nationwide move
In a bid to reduce the strain on Japanese workers, lawmakers in the country have been discussing plans for four-day workweeks for a while. Back in June 2021, the government discussed (opens in new tab) reducing pressures on employees in its annual economic plans.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the stresses that many workers feel, especially those compelled to go into offices. According to one study (opens in new tab), just 8% of Japanese companies offered two or more guaranteed days off per week in 2020.
A four-day workweek has been a longterm cry of the political left, especially in France, and the benefits to workers – more free time, a longer weekend – are obvious.
It's not just big businesses considering the move, recent research among SMBs from Owl Labs found that 82% of plan on having a hybrid, flexible or remote workforce even after the pandemic subsides.
Almost half (49%) believe hybrid working (opens in new tab) makes the business more profitable and allows it to tap into wider talent pools. What’s more, 36% said it has a positive impact on employee retention, while almost half (42%) witnessed it boosting employee wellbeing.
And another study from Microsoft found that 51% of current hybrid workers would not accept this working option being removed.
Hybrid working has also transformed from a “nice to have” feature, to a “must-have”, Microsoft claimed, saying how 59% of HR staff saw hybrid working’s positive effects on employee mental health.
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