Samsung tells its executives to work a 6-day week to ‘inject a sense of crisis’ after posting its worst financial year in over a decade

 While firms around the world embrace a four-day week, Samsung is going in the opposite direction: The $374 billion tech giant is mandating a six-day workweek for all of its executives in a bid to “inject a sense of crisis” among workers and raise its bottom line. 

Execs at the South Korean company will have the option of pulling overtime either on a Saturday or Sunday, starting as early as this week, Korea Economic Daily reports.

“Considering that performance of our major units, including Samsung Electronics Co., fell short of expectations in 2023, we are introducing the six-day work week for executives to inject a sense of crisis and make all-out efforts to overcome this crisis,” a Samsung Group executive told Korea Economic Daily.

Lower performance combined with other economic uncertainties like high borrowing costs, the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, and rising oil prices, have reportedly pushed the firm into “emergency mode.”

Last year, Samsung posted its weakest financial year in over a decade, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that net profit fell 73% in Q4. 

Meanwhile, its semiconductor business—which accounts for about 80% of Samsung’s earnings—recorded a loss of nearly 15 trillion Korean won ($11 billion) last year.

It’s perhaps why, as per Korea Economic Daily, some execs have been voluntarily working six days a week since the start of this year anyway.

But now, executives across Samsung Display, Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., and Samsung SDS will be expected to work an extra day, with its financial services arms of the business expected to follow suit shortly.

Employees below the executive level aren’t expected to clock in on weekends. However, a spokesperson told Korea Economic Daily that the company will keep an eye on their business strategy and adapt as needed.

Fortune has contacted Samsung for comment.

Meanwhile, other firms are ditching Fridays

Samsung’s six-day mandate goes against the global shift to adopting a shorter week as pilots of the “100:80:100” working model—100% pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for 100% productivity—prove to be a roaring success.

Following in the footsteps of Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan, Britain completed the world’s biggest trial of a four-day working week last year and experienced a 65% reduction in the number of sick days, maintained or improved productivity, and saw a 57% decline in the likelihood that an employee would quit, dramatically improving job retention.

The results even found that reducing employees’ working hours had a positive impact on the bottom line: Company revenue increased by 35% when compared to the same six-month period in 2021.

Earlier this month, an acrylic fiber producer became the first major company in Turkey to permanently adopt a 4-day work week, leading to an 85% rise in work-life balance and employee engagement.

Even just this week, Singapore ordered employers to consider workers’ requests for a three-day weekend. 

But in South Korea, the government has generally been pushing to make the workweek longer—not shorter. 

Last year, the country proposed a plan for a 69-hour workweek, after business groups complained that the current cap of 52 hours was making it difficult to meet deadlines. But protests from the country’s millennials and Gen Z prompted the government to reconsider

Meanwhile, SK Group the owner of Samsung’s rival SK Hynix, has similarly implemented biweekly Saturday meetings for its chief executives.

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