Japan, the industrial giant of Asia, is notorious for overworking its employees and burning them out with workload and extra shifts. During the pandemic, work from home gave employees a breather from this extreme work culture as they could have a better work-life balance.
Now that the country is going back to resuming work, the government has proposed a four-day work week to ensure people don’t quit and have a better work-life balance.
This reminds us of the changes made in the labour code by Indian government earlier this year. It stated that organisations could allow their employees to work four days a week instead of five or six, which is standard for most companies in India. Now, who doesn’t love a longer weekend? But there’s a reason why this change never panned out.
Can India take such a step? Although we would love to have a shorter work week, this may never happen in India anytime soon and here’s why:
Fixed week hours
There are fixed week hours set for employees under the labour law which is 48 hours. If companies work four days a week, workers would be expected to work 10-15 hours a day, instead of 8 hours (5 day working) or 6 hours (6 days working). Longer working hours lead to lesser productivity of employees.
India is an outsourcing country
India is called outsourcing destination as it is preferred by numerous countries to outsource projects and services like software from India. Apart from low cost and infrastructure, the prime reason for why countries prefer India to outsource is its skilled workforce, readily available labour, and ‘round-the-clock services’.
It may be optional
India is a developing country which simply cannot afford to close down the shutters for three days a week, especially after the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. However, it could work for labour-intensive sectors and manufacturing companies to squeeze in a work’s week in four days and save on rent, electricity etc. But for other sectors, it is not feasible.
A lot of Indian companies gave their employees a three-day weekend during the second wave of Covid to ensure their good physical and mental health, which is great. However, in a country in which most companies and sectors work even six days a week, we don’t see the four-day week working for India, no matter how much we would like that.
Anyway, happy weekend to all those who have Saturday off!