It was announced that Panasonic Corp will be joining a small but rapidly growing group of companies in Japan who will be offering a 4-day workweek option to its employees in an attempt to improve their work-life balance.

In a recent investor briefing, Panasonic Corp’s chief executive officer, Yuki Kusumi, said that  employees of the Osaka-based electronics conglomerate can take up side jobs and spend time on local volunteer work. He also said that Panasonic will also be allowing employees to work from home if their partners are relocated to other locations.

Panasonic is by no means alone in this shift towards an improve work-live balance. They are, in fact, part of a larger global trend by companies who are making an extensive effort to improve the employee experience to attract and retain talent amidst a tightening job market. Other big brands such has and Unilever have already implemented their own workweek programmes years ago.

In Japan, a group of lawmakers is discussing a proposal to grant employees a day off in addition to the two break days a week, to ensure their well-being. The country has become rather infamous for it’s workaholics and culture of overwork. While efforts are being made to improve working conditions, progress is slow as traditional mindsets and work ethics continue to influence the nation’s work culture.

This translates to the implementation of the 4-day workweek as well. Companies that are implementing this benefit are still few and far between. Just more than 8 percent of Japanese firms offered more than two guaranteed days off, a survey from a Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare conducted in 2020 showed.

Despite the slow uptake, there are signs that more companies will soon follow suite.


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