Chung Mong-koo, the 73 year old chairman of Hyundai Motor has ordered executives who insist on working their weekends to cease doing so, a report in Korea JoongAng Daily states.

The newspaper notes that managers and those executives to whom they report have until now felt obliged to turn up to their offices for a 7am start each Saturday.

“Hyundai Motor Group executives need to take time-out to feel refreshed,” Chung is quoted as stating to group executives at a recent meeting.

“[We] can truly become a global company if employees can get enough rest,” he added. “From now on, I will also try to visit the office less frequently on Saturdays.”

The Korean government has been trying without success since 2003 to encourage employees of major firms to take a full weekend off. Even this recent order from Hyundai’s owner might take some time to filter through in a country where a culture of fear often exists in the workplace. Indeed, even though the new system came into effect at Hyundai Motor last weekend, executives will still take turns to work every third Saturday, the newspaper claims.

Author: Glenn Brooks