Samsung Faces Criticism for Implementing Six-Day Workweek Amid Business Uncertainties

Samsung's 6-day workweek for execs sparks criticism, as experts warn it may harm employee morale and well-being, contradicting global trends towards shorter workweeks.

author-image
Olalekan Adigun
New Update
Samsung Faces Criticism for Implementing Six-Day Workweek Amid Business Uncertainties

Samsung Faces Criticism for Implementing Six-Day Workweek Amid Business Uncertainties

Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate, has come under fire for implementing a six-day workweek for executives at its key tech affiliates, including Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI, Samsung SDS, and Samsung Display. The move, framed as an emergency measure to tackle ongoing business uncertainties, has drawn criticism from experts who view it as outdated and potentially damaging to employee morale.

Executives at Samsung's key affiliates are now required to work an additional day, either on Saturday or Sunday, as part of the group's efforts to enhance risk management amid global economic uncertainties. However, industry insiders and experts have questioned the decision, arguing that it goes against contemporary workplace norms and may increase pressure and fatigue on non-executive employees.

Why this matters: Samsung's decision to implement a six-day workweek for executives comes at a time when many companies worldwide are exploring the benefits of a four-day workweek to improve work-life balance and boost productivity. The move has raised concerns about the potential impact on employee well-being and the precedent it may set for other organizations in South Korea.

Critics argue that the six-day workweek contrasts with the global trend of companies adopting shorter workweeks to promote work-life balance and improve employee satisfaction. "The whole world is already following the trend of moving from a five-day work week to a four-day work week," noted one expert, highlighting the potential negative impact on employee morale.

The effectiveness of the six-day workweek in addressing Samsung's business challenges has also been called into question. Experts believe that the primary challenge lies in the business environment itself, and the company should focus on strategic alternatives to overcome the crisis rather than extending working hours.

Samsung is not alone in implementing such measures. SK Group, another major South Korean conglomerate, has also reinstated biweekly Saturday meetings for top executives, a practice abandoned 24 years ago with the adoption of the five-day workweek in 2000. Concerns have been raised that these actions by Samsung and SK Group may set a precedent for other organizations to follow, exacerbating pressures on employees and undermining efforts to promote work-life balance.

The six-day workweek policy comes as Samsung faces slower economic growth, a falling currency value, and an overall economic slowdown, which have resulted in lower-than-expected financial results. The company posted its worst earnings in more than a decade, with its core businesses, including Samsung Electronics and Samsung Semiconductor, falling below expectations. Samsung's semiconductor division, which accounts for 80% of its entire business, recorded a loss of nearly $11 billion last year.

While the extended workweek is currently imposed only on executive-level employees, with those ranked lower than executives continuing with the regular five-day work week, there are concerns about the potential for employee burnout without proper incentives. Research has shown that increased working hours do not necessarily improve productivity and can have negative impacts on employee health and well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Samsung imposes 6-day workweek for executives at key affiliates to tackle business uncertainties.
  • Experts criticize the move as outdated and potentially damaging to employee morale and well-being.
  • The decision contrasts with global trend of 4-day workweek to improve work-life balance and productivity.
  • Concerns that the policy may set a precedent for other organizations in South Korea to follow.
  • Samsung faces slower growth, falling currency, and economic slowdown, leading to poor financial results.