ByteDance combats overtime culture with end to ‘big and small week’ schedule

Tech giant ByteDance has announced that it will end its ‘big and small week’ working schedule on 1 August 2021. The schedule forces employees to rotate six-day weeks (‘small week’) with a normal five-day working week (‘big week’). Workers on this schedule work 20 more days a year than those who work a regular five-day week.

From the beginning of August, teams and individuals who need to work overtime must submit ‘overtime applications’ to ByteDance’s online system.

The hashtag “#ByteDance cancelled its big and small week working schedule” (#字节跳动取消大小周) gained 180 million views on Weibo. Some employees commented that they felt indifferent towards the changes because, although it allowed them more time off, their salary would be lower than previously.

A growing number of tech giants are addressing their overtime work culture and the ‘996’ craze (working from 9 am until 9 pm six days per week), which is prevalent in the tech, gaming, and sales industry. 

Last month, Kuaishou announced that it would cancel its ‘big and small week’ working rota on 1 July 2021. The company will continue to pay overtime wages in accordance with the new regulations. 

Tencent’s gaming studio, Lightspeed & Quantum Studios Group, also launched ‘overtime work management regulations’. The new rules allow employees to have full weekends off, finish at 6 pm on Wednesdays and no later than 9 pm on other days.

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