• Samsung Group is introducing a six-day workweek for executives, according to a recent report.
  • The emergency measure comes in response to various economic headwinds and underwhelming results in 2023.
  • One bright spot? Samsung recently reclaimed the top spot in global smartphone shipments from Apple.

While some companies are embracing four-day workweeks, Samsung Group is reportedly moving in the opposite direction — at least for executives.

Samsung Group is implementing a six-day workweek for executives across all of its divisions, with some starting as early as this week, according to a new report from The Korea Economic Daily.

The abrupt move by the South Korean business giant comes as the company weathers business headwinds, including rising oil prices, high borrowing costs, and the sharp depreciation of the South Korean won, according to the report.

The report described the company's situation as "emergency mode."

"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 the Daily.

Samsung did not immediately return a request for comment before publication sent outside of local business hours.

The new schedule is effective immediately at most of Samsung's technology divisions, with its financial services arms of the business expected to follow in the near future, according to the report. Some executives at other divisions have already been working six-day weeks voluntarily since the start of the year, the Daily said.

Samsung Electronics executives will have the option of coming in either Saturday or Sunday, according to the report. Employees under the executive level will continue to work for five days a week.

While the company looks to rebound from 2023's results, there has been a recent bright spot. IDC reported that Samsung reclaimed the top spot for global smartphone shipments in the first quarter — a title it briefly lost to Apple in the last quarter of 2023.

Samsung has not yet released its first-quarter earnings results for 2024, which it will on April 30. In its most recent earnings results, the company said it was cautiously optimistic of a rebound in smartphone demand in 2024. The company is expected to benefit from rising semiconductor prices, Reuters recently reported.

South Korea is known for its intense work culture; the average worker spent 1,901 hours at their job in 2022, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ranking fifth-highest among the economic organization's 38 member states. Last year, the country pushed a plan for a 69-hour workweek, which was only abandoned after opposition from young workers and labor unions.

SK Group, a South Korean conglomerate that owns Samsung competitor SK Hynix, said earlier this year it would reintroduce regular Saturday meetings for its chief executives.

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