Chinese Company Implements 4.5-Day Work Week

Chinese Company Implements 4.5-Day Workweek

As the four-day workweek trend grows globally, the Chinese video-streaming company LeTV is the first to hop on the bandwagon in China

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Hayley Zhao
4:14 PM HKT, Thu January 5, 2023 1 mins read

China is known for its excessive work culture. The 996 phenomenon, which alludes to the fact that some employees work from 9 AM to 9 PM six days a week, reached its tipping point in 2021 — even the Chinese government publicly condemned it.

Tired of having no work-life balance, many young people in China have adopted the workplace philosophies of ‘lying flat’ or ‘let it rot’ (aka doing the bare minimum at work). Understandably, this attitude does not benefit businesses, and some employers have been experimenting with new ways to boost morale and increase productivity.

On January 3, Chinese video-streaming platform LeTV announced that it would offer its employees the option of four-and-a-half day workweeks. Every Wednesday, the company’s staff can take half a day off — no salary cuts expected.

four-day workweek at LeTV

LeTV’s work calendar, which notes the days that employees can take a half day off. Image via Weibo

A hashtag related to the news immediately started trending on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, amassing more than 130 million views at the time of writing. And based on the comments, it seems many netizens are jealous of LeTV’s new working arrangement.

“What’s the email address of their HR? I want a job there,” joked one Weibo user.

Another user pointed out that LeTV is taking a page from many European companies’ playbooks.

In countries such as Belgium and Iceland, managers have seen great results since introducing four-day workweeks. Research has proven that in addition to improving employees’ mental and physical health, a four-day workweek is also beneficial for company earnings; the revenue of some surveyed businesses has risen by an average of 38%.

However, a few Chinese netizens remain skeptical about the new policy.

“My friend’s company had a four-day workweek policy, but the company went bankrupt in two months. Companies on the rise have employees working overtime because they have too much to do. Only failing companies [can implement four-day workweeks] because they don’t have much business to deal with,” wrote one Weibo user.

LeTV has been dealing with financial hardships in recent years and was forced to delist from the stock market in 2020. However, Zhang Wei, CEO of LeTV, shared in the open letter that the company shifted to four-and-a-half-day workweeks because it has achieved financial stability.

With LeTV taking a pioneering approach to modern-day work culture in China, it remains to be seen if other Chinese companies will follow suit.

Cover image via Depositphotos

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