Four-day workweek, short workweek, compressed workweek, case studies, history of working week, Cranfield University, Uncharted, Microsoft, TDCX, dentsu Philippines

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Speaking with an academic expert who shares how the workweek evolved, a leader who has made it official, and leaders who are considering the idea, Arina Sofiah explores everything you need to know about moving to a shorter workweek.

The working world as we see it today has evolved far from where it started.

Naturally, it is hard to discuss this evolution without bringing up the COVID-19 pandemic that started in early 2020. What began as a limited concern has now spread worldwide and brought major disruptions to businesses globally, limiting the mobility and in-person presence often considered necessary for a business.

Two years on, however, and virtual meetings, remote working, and a tech-driven employee experience have all become the norm. The world is even breaking away from the current rigid five-day workweek status quo that has reigned for decades. So let’s take this a step further and consider the four-day workweek.

Will this revolutionary new way of working blend well in Asia? What does it truly take to implement a shorter workweek? How effective can such a policy be?

Arina Sofiah dives deep into the past, present, and future of the workweek as we know it, in interviews with a full spectrum of experts, starting out with the evolution of the working world from UK-based Dr Mengyi Xu, Lecturer in Human Resource Management, Cranfield University – from workdays being cut down to five for religious reasons, to how different countries took to the change.

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Read more on the history of the workweek here

Moving forward, we offer you a 360° view of leaders’ perspectives in moving to a four-day workweek.

Holding dear to the belief of ‘work smarter, not harder’, US-based Banks Benitez, Co-Founder and CEO of Uncharted, retells his journey of implementing a four-day workweek, even before the pandemic.

arina apr four day workweek shorter uncharted banks benitez

Read more about the full Uncharted journey here

Meanwhile, Lim Chee Gay, Group Chief Human Resources Officer is leading the conversation around shorter workweeks in Malaysia, as he talks us through TDCX’s process of considering a shorter workweek.

 arina apr 2022 limcheegaytdcx compressed 4dayworkweek provided quote

Read more on TDC's journey exploring possibilities here.  

While there are no current plans of moving to a four-day workweek, flexible work arrangements have always been part of Microsoft, Karynne Choong HR Manager – APAC HR Consulting, shares.

arina apr 2022 microsoftapac fourdayworkweek karynnechoong provided

Read more about Microsoft APAC's case study here.

Over at dentsu Philippines, a reservation-based hybrid working arrangement has been implemented as Fabi Cariño, Country Head, Human Resources – Philippines, dentsu International, emphasises the importance of facts, not perspective in implementing a new working arrangement.

 arina dentsu philippines four day workweek fabi carino provided

Read more about How dentsu Philippines relies on results instead of face time


This article first appeared in the Q1 edition of Human Resources Online's Southeast Asia e-magazine. View a copy of the e-magazine here, where you'll find power-packed features and interviews with leaders from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, the US, and more!

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Image / Provided

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