Tired of working longer hours than their cigarette-smoking counterparts, employees from a marketing company in Japan finally complained to management. The decision was successful, as the non-smoking employees came out of with additional days off.
In Japan, taking a cigarette break is not customary office behaviour. Nonetheless, the head of Piala Inc., an online marketing company, was confronted by employees who complained that they work more than those who smoke. Consequently, the boss made a decision that surely satisfied the non-smoking employees, who received an extra six days of vacation per year. What a way to encourage employees to stop smoking!
Cigarette breaks had been causing issues for some time, and a non-smoking employee had already brought up the subject. While smokers get to take breaks and relax, all the other employees remain at their desks, buried in work.
A useful and efficient bonus
It seems necessary to specify that Piala Inc. is situated on the 29th floor of a Tokyo high-rise. In order to go outside, smokers must count around a fifteen minute break. In Japan’s workaholic culture, this seems unthinkable. But if extra vacation days seem like a way to encourage employees to stop smoking, the strategy is most likely doomed to fail. The Japanese are known for opting out of days off. A 2013 survey carried out by Japan’s Ministry of Labour showed that the Japanese only take 9 out of their allotted 18.5 days of vacation.
Will the Japanese ever realize the benefits of a bit of rest and relaxation? In any case, Piala Inc. seems to be changing its own company culture. Out of 120 employees, 30 have already used at least one of the extra vacation days. For Hirotaka Matsushima, an employee, it was the ideal occasion to go to a thermal spa with his family. He even admits that some of his colleagues have stopped smoking in order to benefit from the extra time off. Indeed, this can also be considered a great motivation to quit smoking. So when will we see the French equivalent?