All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We all are familiar with this proverb which has been taught to us since childhood but its exact depth and true meaning dawns when one starts working. A normal work week of 40 hours leaves employees with two days to rejuvenate and get ready to work hard the next five days. It has been the accepted norm and worked well so far. But now it is being challenged and rightly so.
Our working schedules have become so hectic that a five day work week drains us completely and if you factor overtime and personal ambitions to achieve more in less time, it can prove fatal as has been the case with japan since last six decades.
Karoshi, a Japanese word literally translates to death by overwork. People in Japan are so addicted to work overtime that they are not even taking their paid vacations. Many employees register over 100 hours of overtime in a week.Research has shown that employees are so eager to get promotions and earn a good reputation in their employer’s eyes that they work tirelessly, most times at devastating personal cost.
The Japanese government is offering special holidays and has made laws to control deaths by Karoshi but it has not shown positive results.
While Japan has its own battles to fight, developed countries all over the world are advocating for a four day work week to give employees extended weekends to enjoy their social life. This not only motivates them to work harder in the working days but they put their best efforts to get better results.
Governments in USA and Canada have tried different versions of four day work week. While a few organizations increased the normal working hours of a day from 8 to 10 to compensate for the loss of final working day, many have tried to go with a 30-32 hour work week. But the concept is still in its infancy and its pros and cons are up for debate.
But one thing is clear and that is the focus should be on better work not more work.