Seoul turns computers off to reduce overtime

SEOUL • The Seoul Metropolitan Government has begun to take steps to reduce overtime work in the public sector, mandating that all computers be shut down after 8pm, starting from tomorrow.

The latest measure comes after growing criticism from Koreans, who complain of a lack of decent work-life balance.

The city government ordered that all computers at the Seoul City Hall building and its Seosomun annex be powered down at 8pm tomorrow. The automatic shut-down of computers will be implemented at 7.30pm on the second and fourth Friday next month, and extended in frequency in May so that computers will be shut off at 7pm every Friday.

Other Seoul government buildings, such as the Mugyo annex building and the Office of Infrastructure, will also adopt the new policy in the near future, its city official said on Tuesday.

The city had made attempts to lessen the burden and stress from overtime work previously, by designating every Wednesday and Friday as "Family Day", but efforts were in vain. Many employees still reported working overtime on a significant number of days in one week, according to the city.

The Seoul city government began stepping up efforts to cut working hours, bolster employees' benefits and revamp workplace culture after a civil servant collapsed and died due to "work-related stress" last September.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2018, with the headline 'Seoul turns computers off to reduce overtime'. Print Edition | Subscribe