You have probably read or heard that the Chinese economy is slowing down. Companies are of course trying to react, but there is no unanimity on what they propose (and this is hardly surprising). The solution they propose is the working rhythm of "996".
Nine nine six simply refers to the following concept: employees should work from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. It is a phenomenal workload, allowing companies to maintain a good level of productivity.
Not surprisingly, employees do not like this idea, especially those at Huawei and Alibaba. The latter's boss, Jack Ma, is a strong supporter of 996, but it should be remembered that Chinese law has a fairly strict working hours policy: weekly working hours must be voluntary and paid if they exceed 40 hours. Will the tech giants pay for the overtime of all employees working in 996? Unlikely.
Some shocking sentences were uttered by different bosses. Jack Ma stated: "most successful entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and politicians are on a schedule, in practice, of more than 996". In other words, work as an entrepreneur but with a much lower salary and without the benefits. Congratulations also to the Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, which, while opposed to 996, warned those who "would not fight to do more, regardless of their performance, position, health or family situation". In short, he's saying 'work harder to earn the same'.
Is it a simple culture shock or are the differences deeper? Remember when the president of the Chinese sovereign wealth fund said in 2011, that "European social laws are obsolete. They lead to laziness, indolence, rather than hard work", when he was talking about the Euro crisis.
In any case, the debate is being launched in China. What do you think about working 996?