After several deaths related to overworking including one at Dentsu in Japan, one at Y&R Indonesia and, more recently, another at Ogilvy Philippines, the Japanese government has launched Premium Friday.
The effort calls for businesses to end work early on Fridays and encourage those who do leave early to go shopping.
One PR firm has expanded the government's initiative by giving each employee $28 on one Premium Friday. Of the effort, Sunny Side Up CEO Etsuko Tsugihara said, “Excessive working hours have become a big problem. We were thinking of ways to improve our own working environment when the government came up with Premium Friday and we thought it was a good idea.”
As for the benefits beyond just time off and free money to spend, Tsugihara added, “In creative industries like ours, inspiration won’t come just from staying in the office for a long time. But take some time off, breathe new air and see new things and the ideas will come, and you’ll be refreshed when you come back on Monday.”
Carl Ally Inc. had a four day week from 1971 to 1976. Skeleton crew on Friday.
This was mostly for back office people. Called for a day that began at 8:30 sharp and went to 6. One hour lunch. Could extend to other people based on work. But the agency didn't thrive on it as those years followed big new biz years, but that new biz dried up except for one new account it got: Federal Express. Abandoned in 1976 as the 4-day week notion was used by competitors in new biz and disdained by current clients. A noble experiment, as they said at the time.