Jack Ma calls 12-hour work days a “blessing”

In the middle of stress awareness month, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has told his company’s workers they should be working a “996” work schedule – that is from 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

According to a speech made this week by Ma, working 12 hours a day for Alibaba was a “blessing” to staff, and necessary for the business to achieve success.

Ma’s comments caused a stir in China, where a conversation about work-life balance has spring-boarded off of a slowing tech industry, according to the ABC.

“With the pressure of economic downturn, many enterprises are facing challenges to survive… but the way to relieve anxiety is not to let employees work overtime as much as possible,” an editorial by the People’s Daily newspaper wrote.

Ma later backtracked on his comments, calling such a work regime inhumane, unhealthy and unsustainable.

The comments come as LinkedIn revealed work-life balance is the top cause of stress at work for Australians, with 72 per cent of survey respondents struggling to keep a balance between the two.

The report also found that executive-level professionals are the most stressed, more so than middle management and individual contributors.

In terms of age demographic, Generation X is the most stressed generation with over half (54 per cent) claiming to struggle with confidence in the future of their work.

LinkedIn has shared four recommendations for workers to reduce their stress.

  • Learn to say “no” to unnecessary tasks.
  • Invest in yourself and taking control of your future.
  • Understand that nobody has it all figured out.
  • Accept that politics at work are a reality.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail Australia.


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