A Look at How the Corporate World in Japan is Paying Employees to get a Good Night's Sleep

Founder of a wedding organizer company Crazy Inc, Kazuhiko Moriyama believes that well-rested workers are the most productive employees in the company

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By Komal Nathani


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In the island nation of the world, where at one side its intensive corporate culture is taking the lives of several individuals, this company is setting a precedent by placing real money on the wager.

Founder of a wedding organizer company Crazy Inc, Kazuhiko Moriyama believes that well-rested workers are the most productive employees in the company. A Bloomberg report has released that the employees who sleep six hours a night, for at least five days a week, will get awarded points by Crazy Inc. The points can be exchanged for food in the company cafeteria worth as much as 64,000 yen ($570) per year. The sleep can be tracked by using an app made by Airweave Inc., a mattress manufacturer.

This is not the first time that Japanese entrepreneurs are taking measures to improve employees' productivity. Besides Crazy Inc, an insurance company Aetna also pays its employees to get a good night's sleep. The company's staff that participates can earn $25 for every 20 nights in which they sleep seven hours or more, up to a limit of $300 every 12 months. Aetna had introduced this initiative in 2016. Another company, Okuta, a home renovation firm near Tokyo, allows its employees to take a 20-minute power nap at their desks or in the staff lounge.

The tech and robotics world leader, Japan is facing a severe problem of low productivity of employees at work. Not only the corporate world, but the government of the country is also taking an array of initiatives to improve the productivity index of the country. A few months ago, the Shinzo Abe government introduced an initiative called "Shining Monday", which allows employees to take Monday mornings off once a month, an insurance company Aetna has also.

Currently, the country's all-time low productivity index has become a major concern of the country. According to 2018 data of OECD Compendium of Productivity Indicators, the country has the lowest productivity among G-7 nations. The country's work culture is so intense that people have died of overworking at their workplaces. The OECD data highlights that Japan is considered capping monthly overtime at 100 hours and the average working hour per day is not less than 12 hours a day.

Japanese Employees are Losing Sleep Over Work

A 2016 cross-country comparative analysis by RAND Europe highlights that after the US, Japan is the second most sleep-deprived country in the world. It says that Japan sustains by far the second highest economic losses up to $138 billion a year, which is 2.92 per cent of its GDP. The report talks about the multiple factors of sleep deprivation of employees that can have a major impact on the country's economy. For example, if individuals that slept under six hours started sleeping six to seven hours then this could add $75.7 billion to the Japanese economy.

Sleep deprivation is also linked to a higher mortality risk and lower productivity of employees at work, which results in a significant amount of working days being lost each year. The RAND report sheds light on how Japan has lost on average 600,000 working days per year because of lower productivity of employees.

Japan outstrips all the other countries in having the most exhausting work culture in the world, which is apparently hitting the productivity of employees.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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