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Samsung Enters ‘Emergency Mode’ Making 6-Day Workweeks Mandatory For Executives

Source: Samsung

While four-day workweeks might be getting all the attention, one major tech company is set to go against the trend. Popular tech company Samsung is set to implement a six-day workweek for all its executives.

This is in response to the firm’s findings that some of its core businesses under delivered with financial results that were way below expectations last year.

Move Taken To ‘Inject A Sense Of Crisis’

A Samsung Group executive told a Korean news outlet that “considering that performance of our major units, including Samsung Electronics Co., fell short of expectations in 2023, we are introducing the six-day work week for executives to inject a sense of crisis and make all-out efforts to overcome this crisis.”

Source: X/Dragonetti0311

Reduced performance alongside a host of other economic uncertainties like high borrowing costs have caused the South Korean company to hit “emergency mode.”

No Executive Exempted From The Change

No executive at the Samsung Group divisions will be exempted from the change. This includes those involved in sales and manufacturing, according to the report.

Source: X/SamsungNetworks

2023 saw Samsung go through its worst financial year in more than ten years. The Wall Street Journal stated that net profit dropped by 73% in the fourth quarter. In addition, it lost its leading position in the global smartphone market to Apple during the same quarter, although it regained it this year.

Change Doesn’t Apply To Those Below Executive Level

Although the change isn’t expected to affect those below the executive level and they could choose not to report to duty on weekends, some might opt to follow the unwritten example of their bosses.

Source: X/SamsungNetworks

According to The Korea Economic Daily, executives in certain Samsung divisions have been working voluntarily for six days a week since January. This happened before the company made the decision to officially implement the six-day workweek policy.

Going Against The Trend

Samsung’s new six-day workweek policy goes against the global trend of moving towards shorter workweeks.

Source: X/SamsungNetworks

Trials of the “100:80:100” model, where employees are paid full-time for working 80% of the time while maintaining 100% productivity, have been very successful. Following examples from Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan, Britain conducted the world’s largest trial of a four-day workweek last year.

More Benefits Of Four Day Workweek

They found a 65% decrease in sick days, as well as maintained or improved productivity. Plus, there was a 57% decrease in employees wanting to quit, which made job retention much better.

Source: AFP

The study also showed that cutting down employees’ work hours had a good effect on profits: Company revenue went up by 35% compared to the same period in 2021. Just recently, a big company in Turkey, that makes acrylic fiber, switched to a four-day workweek permanently.

South Korean Government Pushes For Longer Workweek

This led to an 85% improvement in work-life balance and how involved employees felt in their jobs. Also, this week in Singapore, employers were told to think about letting workers have a three-day weekend if they asked for it.

Source: Techtimes

But in South Korea, the government has been wanting to make the workweek longer, not shorter. Last year, they suggested a plan for a 69-hour workweek because business groups said the 52-hour limit made it hard to finish projects on time.

Millennials Stop Government Move

But after millennials and Gen Z in the country protested, the government decided to think again.

Source: X/ebsBirmingham

“The core of [Yoon’s] labor market policy is to protect the rights and interests of underprivileged workers, such as the MZ generation, workers not in a union, and those working in small and medium-sized businesses,” the president’s press secretary, Kim Eun-Hye, said.

Effects Of Overworking: Stanford Study Reveals Decreased Output

On another note, SK Group, which owns Samsung’s rival SK Hynix, has started having meetings every other Saturday for its top bosses.

Source: Adobe Stock

Another research, a Stanford project also discovered that overworking leads to decreased total output. This could be due to many factors such as stress, and sleep deprivation amongst others “to the extent that the additional hours [worked] provide no benefit (and, in fact, are detrimental),” the study said.

Long-Term Health Problems Another Issue

Longer hours can also mean long-term health problems. The World Health Organization found that working for more than 55 hours a week has the potential to reduce life expectancy and increase the risk of stroke by up to 35%.

Source: X/NEID_at_WIYN

The same 55-hour workweek could lead to a 17% higher risk of heart disease, per the same study.

Majority Of Americans Favor Shift To Four-Day Workweek, Survey Finds

The five-day workweek has been a staple in U.S. law for 80 years. However, a recent Bentley-Gallup Business in Society Report shows that most Americans prefer a four-day workweek.

Source: Adobe Stock

Seventy-seven percent of workers in the U.S. say that having a four-day, 40-hour workweek would improve their well-being to some extent. They also want their companies to provide mental health days (74%) and reduce the amount of work they have to do outside of work hours (73%).

Staying With The Tried And Trusted Option

Many companies, including Amazon, Basecamp, Microsoft, and Panasonic, offer four-day workweek choices, but most businesses have stuck with the tried-and-trusted five-day model. Why?

Source: Medium/Rabin Poudyal

Experts think that it’s because of a combination of factors including lower productivity, staffing issues, increased labor costs, and complex changes to operations. Plus, there’s just an overall opposition to change.

How Does A Four-Day Workweek Work?

But in recent years, a lot of companies have made the switch to a four-day workweek where employees work 10-hour days for four days instead of eight-hour days for five days.

Source: Adobe Stock

The pay doesn’t change, but the schedule changes, giving workers the benefit of an extra day off each week. As expected, millennials and Gen Z, who place much value on work-life balance, find this option very appealing.

Bankrate Survey Reveals Gen-Z Preference

As a matter of fact, a survey by Bankrate found that 92% of young people would work longer hours if they could have a four-day workweek.

Source: Pinterest

Last year, over 33 companies in the UK tried a four-day workweek for six months. After, most said they wouldn’t go back to the five-day week because productivity and employee happiness went up.

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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