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What is the reality about work in China?
China's workplace culture has been under the limelight in recent years. The traditional Chinese work ethic, known as "996 labor," is coming under intense examination as a result of the proliferation of knowledge and the internet. It's common knowledge that workers in China have a lot on their plates, and the number 996 has risen in prominence as a measure of their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. So what, really, is the truth about this office atmosphere? What does this mean for the Chinese labor force? In an effort to shed light on the 996 work culture in China and address these queries, this article provides a look behind the scenes.
The Origins of 996 Work
The roots of the 996 work culture in China may be traced all the way back to ancient Chinese beliefs from the last decades of the nineteenth century. Work in China was seen as a virtue during the " Cultural Revolution ", and workers who prioritized their jobs above other pursuits were held in high esteem. This outlook is still widely held among Chinese professionals today, even after many decades have passed.
Those that adhere to the standard 9–9 timetable put in those hours six days a week. Working from Monday through Sunday is not uncommon, and overtime is expected of most workers. Unless on vacation, it is not uncommon for workers to be required to respond to emails and phone calls outside of normal business hours.
The Implications of 996 Work
The long-term effects of overloading workers with labor are not good. Researchers from Cornell and Oregon discovered that workers who put in more than 10 hours per day were 2.5 times more likely to get depressed than those with more typical schedules. In addition, the research indicated that persons who worked more than 55 hours per week were 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke.
According to a poll by the South China Morning Post, the majority of Chinese workers are unhappy with their jobs since they have so little free time compared to their counterparts in other nations (70 percent). Several of these workers also complained that they had little time for self-improvement or spending with their families because of their heavy workloads.
Change is on the Horizon
Fortunately, there are signs of progress on the horizon. Workers in China may now only put in a maximum of 8 hours each day because to measures taken by the government. Several of China's most prestigious businesses have begun to downplay the importance of 996, and Chinese executives have begun to welcome this trend.
Tencent and Zhejiang Zhangjiagang are just two examples of enterprises that have embraced flexible hours for its staff. It has been reported that corporations like Alibaba and NetEase have implemented regulations to limit employees' hours of labor each week.
There are negative long-term effects of China's conventional 996 work ethic, which may be exhausting and stressful for employees. Happily, both the government and businesses in China understand the importance of a healthy work-life balance and are taking measures to limit employees' time spent at the office.
Yet, regardless of how effective these reforms prove to be, we can at least hold out hope that 996 will soon be a thing of the past and that Chinese workers will have more freedom in their scheduling and higher levels of job satisfaction.