Over the past few weeks, there’s been news that Malaysia would like to implement a 4 day workweek into our work schedules. Now I know what you guys are thinking: Yahoo! We can finally get three days of rest.
But at the same time, won’t four days just mean we have to work twice as hard to reach our KPIs and such? How are we supposed to enjoy ourselves on the weekends when all we can think about is all the piling papers at our desk at work the next week?
So it makes sense that some people are against the idea of a four day work week. Others, however, are all for it. But the question here is: What would happen if we actually go through with this?
Boleh Jadi Ke Ni?
You see, the debate here isn’t whether you want a four day work week, it’s whether it would work out in the long run or not. Of course, it works in countries outside of Malaysia but the Malaysian mentality is different.
Why are you booing me? I’m right. You know this!
A lot of these countries are starting to work their way into the four day work week and are met with a lot of enthusiasm and support. So why was Malaysia’s attempt highly criticised?
I would say that it’s mainly because of our work ethics.
With the way Malaysian companies work, having a four day workweek would mean that they would perah you for all you’ve got. Your productivity levels would have to be cranked up to 200% to make up for the one day that you’ve now missed.
Is it fair? No, of course not. But is it going to happen like that anyway? Yeah, just wait and see. Malaysia’s predictable like that.
Why It Won’t Work
According to industry players, our country is currently facing low productivity and labour problems, that’s why the four day work week won’t work here. With the pandemic and the movement control order, a lot of foreign workers have moved back to their countries.
There are also a lot of people who have lost their jobs and businesses. And now that things are starting to pick back up again, having even one day of less labour can “hinder” things from moving forward. This is mostly in reference to factory workers and settings, mind you.
“Countries that have implemented this system are advanced and their production is automated. As a developed country, they will source out to ASEAN countries to purchase products that are not automated.
“The proposal is good but Malaysia cannot survive if we were to implement this,” said SME Association of Malaysia president, Ding Hong Sing.
Working for only four days would also entail more overtime work by employees and employers alike. If your job is the kind that gets paid by the day, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to work one extra day instead of having a new day off?
But with the four day workday, you’d have to end up taking more hours than normal to make the same amount you used to make before. And wouldn’t that put a bummer on your plans?
But What If It Does Work?
For normal working people with normal working hours, how would the four day work week work? Personally, I believe that it could be possible. If done correctly, of course.
On one hand, productivity levels could very well be improved. I mean, I’m just guessing here but you only get four days to complete whatever work you have to do for the week just so you can enjoy the next three days in peace. Won’t that kind of test your limit a bit?
It would certainly make for a competitive market as people are going to reach their goals at a much shorter time than they’re used to. It just shows how much you can do under pressure.
Some countries actually do really well with a four day work week. In Japan, there was a 40% increase in work productivity boost when the four day work week was implemented. In Belgium, the citizens were given an option to choose if they wanted to participate in the four day work week or not.
Closer to home, Vulcan Post had actually tried to implement the four day work week into their schedule. They even documented their experiences during their six month trial period.
Their results basically suggest that it is indeed possible to be working for only four days. However, it also took a lot of work to get used to their new four day schedule. Granted, they were doing this while they were working from home, but still, the idea of it still stands.
Maybe Can Try First
Okay, so maybe the four day work week could work, maybe it couldn’t. There’s like a 50/50 percent chance in both of that happening. But more research is needed to be certain since it was just talked about and hasn’t even been executed yet. We probably need to give it a chance first before we make any conclusions.
Besides the four day work week, Malaysia also wants to start implementing shorter working hours for their citizens, from 48 hours to 45 hours a week effective 1 September 2022. This is mainly because the amendment can potentially rehabilitate Malaysia’s reputation as one of the countries with the longest weekly work hours in the world.
Actually, Malaysia’s been changing a lot of the employment act recently. Which is good, because it was different in the old days. Now that we’re living in the 21st century, there should be new rules to cater to new situations.
So What’s The Verdict? Yay or Nay?
I personally think it’s… alright.
Okay, actually, it’s a good idea in theory but for the most part, I feel like remote working would be a much better option than a four day workweek.
Remote working is still something relatively new in Malaysia. New in a sense that Malaysian companies would actually prefer physical attendance rather than virtual ones, even though you’ve proven that you work extremely well enough anywhere you are. It’s just good old fashion Asian work mentality, innit?
But six out of 10 Malaysians even said that they prefer remote working over the four day workweek. And honestly, I’m all for that. The four day workweek may look good in theory but to be honest with you, I see a lot of setbacks to it. If the above ranting isn’t enough to prove that. It’ll be “all aboard the stress train” all throughout the week!
And if you must know, four days a week is already a thing. With all the holidays we have compiled together, we average out to four days of working a week anyway. It’s kind of funny when you think about it.
So I say, I don’t know. Not yay or nay. Just a simple shrug of the shoulders and an open mind to try it out before making a conclusion.
But if you ask me about what would boost employee morale and productivity more, I’d say remote working. We’ve done it before and it’s garnered pretty good responses. So why not continue?