China’s notorious 996 overwork culture is making waves again on social media as some tech companies are taking action to battle the work-balance struggle, or at least pretending to.
Chinese short video company Kuaishou just announced that it would adjust its current work schedule a week after the parent company of TikTok and Douyin, ByteDance, passed the buck and remained ambiguous on this topic.
Though Huawei created this policy ByteDance made it mainstream. It has been implementing a big-small-week system since it was founded in 2012, which requires staff to work one more day every other weekend, with double pay on the extra workday.
Kuaishou also incorporated this schedule earlier this year but announced yesterday that it plans to cancel the policy next month. The company also noted that employees who happen to work overtime would still get paid double on weekends and triple on holidays.
The news immediately shot up the trending topic charts on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo with 360 million views in less than 24 hours.
“If labor laws were useful we wouldn’t see this news,” one Weibo user wrote.
ByteDance, however, took a less clear stand on the issue. It released the result of an internal survey last week showing that one-third of its employees are in favor of its current office hours, one-third want to change it, and the rest offered no opinion. No agreement means no change.
To some employees, the double pay is the appeal that pulled them to the company in the first place. They worry that if the big-small-week policy is canceled they will be left with the same workload but less pay.
“They have overtime pay so they don’t want to cancel it, you understand?” says one comment on Weibo.
“Young people would never refuse to work overtime, unless they’re not paid for it,” reads another.
These attempts to change current policy come after Lightspeed & Quantum Studios, a video game developer owned by the world’s largest online game company Tencent, announced that starting from June 14, employees are required to log off at 6 PM on “health day” Wednesday, leave no later than 9 PM on other days, and do no extra work during weekends and holidays. The statement also noted that the team can submit requests for emergent tasks and claim time back later.
Tencent's Lightspeed & Quantum Studio (Dev of PUBG Mobile) is adding limits on excessive overtime hours to create a more healthy work-life balance.
Employees can no longer be asked to work on weekends and holidays or past 9pm on weekdays, other than on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/rXoqUcWxaH
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) June 9, 2021
Some netizens welcomed the change and asked more companies to follow the trend, but some are questioning the legitimacy.
“So this is a benefit? I thought it’s required by law,” one commenter replied sarcastically.
“If the workload doesn’t change, it just means I need to work overtime at another place,” says another.
With the increasingly competitive job market and ridiculous job demands, China’s millennials and Gen Z are beginning to choose to “lie flat” — a rising buzzword referring to the resigned, unresistant and unbothered attitude that has been adopted by burnt out workers.
Cover photo via Unsplash
To many Chinese youths, SpongeBob’s sassy coworker Squidward has come to symbolize the plight of modern workers in the country Read More
Passive-aggressive comments from the ‘lying flat’ generation are being shared on TV monitors in Xiamen’s subway system, much to the delight of commuters Read More
A study with a 4,000-strong sample size has proven that Chinese youth are more vocal than active about their right to ‘lie flat’ Read More
Tech giant Tencent is again under fire for its notoriously demanding work culture after honoring an employee who worked 20 hours nonstop Read More