Is “Premium Friday” right for an age when there are more and more ways to work?

Premium Fridays were first implemented in February 2017. Since before their introduction, there have been various policies for and against them, but it seems that on their first day, February 24, there was only a 3% adoption rate (according to a Culture Convenience Club news release ※1), so perhaps they had something of a difficult start. We believe that the following points, based on our company’s data, may be connected to the sluggish adoption of Premium Fridays.

■Is it true that “If they have time, they will buy?”

Premium Fridays are a campaign which promotes leaving work at 3 PM on the last friday of every month to excite consumer spending. There are a lot of people who remember “hanakin,” (similar to “TGIF: Thanks god, it’s Friday) a word which fell out of use as company employees gradually found themselves with less and less free time. Its intent, to use the time to excite consumption, is very straightforward and seems like a good course to follow.
In the Fields Yoka Survey 2017 ※2 (hereafter, FYS), implemented online by FRI at the end of last year, people were asked about what they do after 5 (after they leave work) on weekdays.
In response to the question “How often do you visit somewhere before going home after 5 on weekdays?” 45% of workers between 20 and 60 responded “Once or more per week,” and 22% responded “Several times per month.” The nearly half of respondents who said “Once or more per week” must be going somewhere.
Specifically, the three most popular stops were window shopping (60%), drinking parties (32%), and bookstores (30%). 4th through 6th places were occupied by family restaurants (16%), movie theaters and other recreational facilities (9%), and gyms/dance lessons (9%), activities which require a bit more time. So, if employees had more free time, perhaps these are the choices they would make.

■Is setting the same schedule for everyone really appropriate to a modern working environment?

Well, what shall we say about 3 PM on the last Friday of every month? From the point of view of examining the negatives of Premium Fridays, there are certainly arguments that a different day should be chosen or that work shouldn’t end at 3 PM: there are many situations in which the end of the month is a busy time and a lot of business has to be completed, making the last Friday of the month something of a bottleneck period.
Perhaps, in this period of diversifying industries and work styles, having a set time such as “after 3 on the last Friday of every month” only has merit for a fraction of workers to begin with.
For campaigns like Premium Fridays to spread, perhaps it will be necessary for them to cope with a variety of schedules (for example, allowing people to take the free time they prefer from a number of different available times).

If Premium Fridays take off well, it will be necessary for people to be able to easily refresh themselves in their time off work and have places and hobbies that allow them to enjoy themselves. Thinking about the ideal state of “free time,” we intend to pay close attention to how Premium Fridays develop in the future, or what sort of other policies arise in their place.
(※1) Culture Convenience Club News Release

(※2) Fields Yoka Survey 2017
This is a Web survey conducted by our company in December 2016. We asked 11,646 male and female respondents between elementary school and 69 years of age about their leisure activities and values.
(Article by: Kobayashi)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.

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