Samsung to Implement Six-Day Work Week for Executives Slammed by Critics 'Not Effective'

By Thea Felicity

Apr 21, 2024 09:57 AM EDT

Samsung At IFA 2023 In Berlin
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 31: A general view at Samsung's IFA 2023 presentation, where the company shares its ambition for the SmartThings ecosystem to connect people to the things that matter, at CityCube Berlin on August 31, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
(Photo : Gerald Matzka/Getty Images for Samsung)

Samsung Group's recent decision to implement a six-day work week for executives across key affiliates has stirred controversy and debate within South Korea's corporate community. 

Executives from several Samsung affiliates, including Samsung C&T, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Samsung E&A, have already transitioned to the extended work week. Financial affiliates such as Samsung Life Insurance are reportedly considering similar measures. However, the decision has raised concerns about its potential impact on workforce morale, particularly amidst growing demands for improved work-life balance.

According to the Straits Times, critics of Samsung's decision argue that adopting a six-day workweek for executives is antiquated and inefficient, especially considering the global trend towards a four-day workweek aimed at improving employee well-being and productivity. 

Mr. Oh Il-sun, director of the Korea CXO Institute, expressed skepticism, stating, "The whole world is already following the trend of moving from a five-day work week to a four-day work week, but Samsung is now going completely against the global paradigm."

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Samsung's Six-Day Work Week Aftermath

Amidst these developments, Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate's flagship subsidiary, has reported an uptick in its first-quarter operating profit, signaling a resurgence in its semiconductor business driven by robust demand for memory chips. 

However, challenges persist, with the company facing pressures from geopolitical tensions, fluctuating exchange rates, and rising oil prices.

Some view Samsung's decision to extend the work week for executives as an attempt to address internal management issues and instill discipline within the organization. "It's a way of trying to tighten the slack. This can be seen as a symbolic decision that signals Samsung's party is over," said Professor Hwang Yong-sik of Sejong University's College of Business Administration.

However, doubts remain about the effectiveness of the six-day workweek as a solution to the conglomerate's broader challenges. Critics argue that the approach may not address underlying systemic issues and could further strain employee morale without yielding significant benefits.

Despite the skepticism surrounding Samsung's move, there are indications that other local conglomerates may consider similar measures. 

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