Compressed work week gets mixed reviews in ASEAN survey

SOUTHEAST ASIA: Workers across the region would benefit from a compressed, four-day working week — mostly through improved work-life balance — if the results of a Milieu Insight study are to be believed.

The survey asked 6,000 professionals across the Southeast Asia region for their opinion on a compressed working week, in which the same number of working hours were delivered over four days instead of the usual five.

A majority (67%) said they could expect improved work-life balance under such arrangements, while 64% said it would (also) mean more time for their loved ones.

However, more than half of the respondents were worried that their salaries would be compromised, with employers potentially leveraging it for reduced pay or delayed increments. Meanwhile an extended 10-hour workday would be seen to be stressful, according to 47% of the respondents.

Key findings from the published survey include:

  • Malaysians (48%) are less welcoming towards a compressed four-day workweek

  • Six days of work in a week are more common in Indonesia, and Vietnam compared to the typical five-day workweek in Southeast Asia

  • At least seven in 10 Southeast Asian countries are receptive to a compressed workweek, especially in Vietnam (78%), and Indonesia (69%).

  • Some employees are open to a small pay cut, but most think it is not necessary, especially in Singapore (73%), and Thailand (61%)

  • Employees expect a better work-life balance (67%) and have more time for their loved ones (64%)

  • More than half are concerned that the setup could mean a slash in their salaries

  • Less than half (47%) of the workers believe that an extended 10-hour working day could be stressful

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