After the highly publicized suicide of a 24 year old female worker who had worked 105 hours of overtime in a month at the giant ad agency, Dentsu, many Japanese corporations are soul searching.
Posting her despair from consistently sleeping just 10 hours a week and being bullied by superiors on social media, she then jumped to her death from atop the company building.
A 16 hour workday is not uncommon in Japan, resulting in an estimated 1,500 Japanese dying each year from karoshi, working to death (literally), and another 2,000 or so committing suicide, ostensibly from work-related issues.
This, however, was not what motivated Quartet Communications, a startup in Nagoya to actually pay workers to leave at 6:00 pm. With limited funds, they just couldn’t afford the expense of overtime. At the same time, they also couldn’t afford to have the reduction in hours affect business.
To make sure they still got results, Quartet instituted a system for evaluating how much effort staff put into achieving their business objectives.
“I want to reward employees who can raise their efficiency and reduce their overtime hours rather than those who dawdle,” said Daisuke Tsutsumi, the 33-year-old president of Quartet Communications told Chunichi Shimbun.
Those who meet their goals, but work fewer hours than the company’s average, get an extra bonus in December.
Now, when the company plays “go home music” at 6:00, all 40 workers are gone within the next 30 minutes.
Would someone please mention this to my boss?