China's 996 Work Culture
For the past decade China’s economy has been developing at an incredible speed and one of many things that had a vital impact on its economy is the rise of technology. China’s fast-growing tech economy has witnessed a fierce competition among internet companies and the opportunities are too vast in China for those companies to take a laid-back approach. As a result, tech companies routinely work long hours which has created a “996” work culture among Chinese internet companies. The prevalence of this “overtime culture” reflects China’s determination to succeed, as is shown in the success of China’s internet giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. In fact, Alibaba founder Jack Ma stated that working overtime has helped his company grow to become what it is today and that working long hours in the industry is necessary for start-ups to survive and grow.
Whether the acceptance of long working hours in China is official or not, it’s certain that Chinese internet company founders and their teams can’t afford to be lazy. China’s on-demand market, where consumers order and pay by mobile, with near-instant deliveries which demands high efficiency and tech workers are expected to work long hours to keep up with the demand. However, too much overtime can destroy creativity and working for too long can have a negative impact on one’s personal health. I believe a healthy body is an insurance of productivity and internet companies should promote a working culture that focuses more on improving productivity and the quality of their products. In addition, internet companies need to comply with the Chinese Labour Law and pay its workers appropriate compensations if they’re required to work 996 hours.
For adults who are on such a tight schedule I advise them to try to find a balance between work and life and pay more attention to healthy lifestyles. Sometimes quantity does not necessarily equal quality, if you are forced to work long hours and find that the work is not so meaning or your productivity level is low, you probably should take time to properly recharge to improve productivity.
In conclusion, I think the “996” culture is a by-product of China’s growing tech economy. The pressing market demand, fierce competition and changing technology trends all drive employees towards long working hours. I’m willing to take a job that requires such schedule, only in an environment where the company is growing rapidly and I can learn things from the job, because I believe young workers should work hard when they’re still young. However, I will also strike a better work-life balance for the sake of my own health.