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What if The World Worked 24 Hours a Day?

Traditionally, there have always been few stores that stay open for 24 hours. However, this small number of 24-hour stores play a crucial role during night-time emergencies. Picture this:

One night, you and your partner are lying in bed after long and of working and taking care of the baby. Finally, you’re about to fall asleep and get some rest. You can see Zhou Gong waving his hand at you. And then suddenly… 


You rush into your child’s room to find him hugging his tummy. You know he’s in pain but you’re not sure what’s the problem. Your child knows how to speak but can only say: “Mommy, stomach pain!” 

Without thinking, you wake your partner and the three of you hit the road in search of the nearest clinic or pharmacy. All around you is pitch black and quiet. It’s like there is no business operating 24 hours a day. While going through the shop lots your son continues to cry and scream. Since it’s outside normal business hours, you know you can only look for medicine stores open 24 hours.  

Suddenly, you see a light!  


You quickly drive towards it and find a clinic providing 24/7 service. Thank God there’s a clinic providing 24/7 service. You can’t help but think what if our world did not have 24-hour businesses to deal with emergencies. You might not have been so lucky!  

WHAT IS A 24-HOUR BUSINESS?

Firstly, what defines 24-hour businesses? It’s simply a business or company that is open 24 hours every day! Typical business hours are something from 9 AM – 6 PM (eight hours). Any operation that exceeds eight hours is considered more than normal and is subject to a work shift (you don’t need a 24-hour business license – more on this later). 

So, a business operating 24 hours a day, every day (Monday – Sunday without off days) is what we call a 24-hour business. There are also businesses that advertise themselves as ‘25 hours a day’ or even ‘closes at 26:00’ that we have mentioned in another article. It’s just a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that they never close! 

Can we say that there are advantages of 24 hours businesses? Yes, 24-hour businesses can be a lifesaver as explained in the previous scenario. It also provides convenience and a sense of security to a consumer. For a consumer, the ability to buy something whenever they want is one of the greatest advantages of 24 hours businesses. 24-hour businesses are also able to help customers whenever they need help, which leads to better brand loyalty.  

Bearing in mind these advantages of 24 hours businesses, let’s close our eyes and imagine a world where businesses are required to operate 24 hours. 

What Happens if We MUST Work 24 Hours?

Alright, imagine a world where everyone is working 24/7. In other words, shops are always open, facilities never turn their lights off and services are always available. A place where stores do not have the concept of open or close hours. A place where a business operating 24 hours a day is the norm. 


Would you want to live in that world? Convenience would be one of the main benefits you gain. This is especially true for workers that work night shifts. Oh! Imagine working the midnight shift and say if you end your work at 4 am and the sudden urge of wanting some Chinese coffee.

And, conveniently, if the world works nonstop, you can easily look for a ‘Kopitiam’ (Chinese Coffee Shop) that provides an open-all-hours service to its customers. I’d bet drinking coffee instead of beer at the midnight might be a special feeling and for some, it might even be refreshing! 

However, nothing is perfect. Let’s look at the main weakness of 24-hour businesses. 

Disadvantages of 24 Hour Businesses

Before we talk about the what-ifs, let’s first talk about what existing businesses that we have are already operating 24 hours. ? I’m sure that most of you will think of convenience stores or even self-service laundromats. In a different article, we talked about how businesses that provide 24/7 service are much more likely to waste resources. However, it’s still extremely convenient for consumers who know that they can visit a shop whenever they want to wash their clothes or buy necessities, especially for night shift workers.  

However, if the 24-hour operating style spreads beyond shops that provide necessities, it might bring about chaos! What do I mean by that?  

Let’s talk about you, shall we?  

What do you work as? An office employee? Or are you from the F&B industry? The creative industry? What happens if you have to work 24 hours a day as open or close is no longer a valid question?  

1. Overworking

The first thing going through your mind is a concern that you will die from overwork – and you’d be right! In fact, in Japan, there’s already an overworking culture and lives have been lost because of it. In Japan, it is defined as ‘Karoshi’ (過労死), which is literary defined as death by overworking. It is a serious issue in Japan and officials have been looking for ways to tackle this problem. Fortunately, the situation in Japan is slowly getting better when the cases were put in front of the entire world to see.  

In Japan, there was not even an official rule saying an employee must work 24 hours, yet people were suffering from overworking. Now imagine that happening around the world, and the law allowing businesses to operate for 24 hours – the world would go upside down!  

2. Employee Abuse

Some would argue that even if officials implement a 24 hour business idea for all sorts of businesses it would be still fine as we have working shifts. Yes, we might have working shifts, but I strongly believe that people will still take advantage of an employee and use different methods to force them to work ‘willingly’ longer than the law allows.  

What about the professional jobs then? Jobs that are more difficult to be replaced since it requires a certain level of skills. They would be overworked too unless a company was willing to hire two employees with separate shifts. This is unlikely any time soon, especially for smaller companies and startups. 

3. Prices of Goods & Services Skyrocket

We have spoken about how 24 hours businesses have high maintenance fees. So, imagine if all businesses implement 24-hour business operating hours. Prices of products or services will absolutely skyrocket.

This will be the case since maintenance and labour fees would be far higher compared to the world we live in as I believe that the rates for night shifts will be significantly higher than morning shifts. Since most workers would prefer working during the daytime instead of the quiet night-time. 

4. Increased Crime

If we live in a world where businesses will operate 24 hours, it is almost sure that the crime rate with thrive. I’m sure night-shift workers in our reality will normally just wait for time to pass until the end of the shift since there’s not much traffic during midnight.  

It’s safe to say that during the midnights our guard and situation awareness is at their lowest. So, criminals might take advantage of the time when employees are half awake and storefronts are wide open to conduct criminal activities. 


Considering all these, it sounds horrifying to even imagine all businesses and companies operating for 24 hours. Fortunately, in the universe we live in, we have the freedom of choice. Businesses can decide on their operating hours, and employees are relatively well-protected by the government. 

Will I Need a 24 Hours Business License?

As we all may know, 24 hours business might not be the best option for most businesses in our reality, however, there are still unsung businesses that are perfect for 24 hours, especially for those who need to provide security and assurance to customers. For these businesses, you might be wondering will you need a 24 hours business license (which we briefly spoke about just now). 

If you still want to run a 24-hour business. You might be wondering; will I need a 24 hours business license? A common misconception about running a 24 hours business is that we will need 24 hours business license. Any business entity is free to choose their own time to open or close their business without the need for any 24 hours business license. However, business owners are required to apply for a permit to enable employees to work in shifts if they have a 24 hour business idea and plan to provide a 24/7 service to the public.  

Do you have in mind what business you’re interested to start in? A 24-hour business idea may not be suitable for you. That’s alright! We at MISHU are more than glad to have a chat with you to talk about the best business hours for your business.

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