Panasonic Plans to Introduce an Optional 4-Day Workweek

The change is part of a global push for shorter workweeks.

OleksSH/Shutterstock
OleksSH/Shutterstock

If you are anything like me, you keep a list of company holidays on your fridge so that you can keep track of every three-day weekend available. In some places, though, these three-day weekends aren't being reserved just for holidays. Every week can be a four-day workweek! Panasonic, the multinational electronics company headquartered in Japan, is the latest company to make the switch.

The company will offer an optional third day off each week. The decision comes after Japan's economic guidelines were updated last year, suggesting that employers shift over to four-day workweeks. The full details of the plan have yet to be revealed. It is unclear if this will apply to Panasonic employees globally.

"The well-being of our employees is a priority and it is important that we communicate and promote an understanding of this purpose and the significance of this system from the management team to organization managers and all employees," Panasonic spokesperson Airi Minobe told Mashable in a statement. "The system can only be properly introduced after thorough discussions in the workplace. We are prepared to take time for all necessary dialogue to take place and don't foresee its implementation until April 2023 at the earliest."

Japan isn't the only country with companies piloting four-day workweeks. A New Zealand company tested the shorter schedule in 2018 and kept it permanently after it was revealed to increase productivity. Iceland ran a four-year study between 2015 and 2019 that showed that workers were healthier, happier, and more productive working only four days a week.

Work changed radically during the pandemic, with many people shifting to remote work, resigning from unsatisfying or unsafe jobs, and participating in labor organizing. It is inevitable that work culture around the globe and in the US will continue to adapt. Will the rest of us get to follow Panasonic’s path? I hope so.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.