Japan: Company Plans To Use Drone To Force Overtime Employees To Go Home

Taisei, a Japanese cleaning company, has announced a new idea to force overtime employees to go home. The company will start using drones next year to tell everyone to go home and stop them from staying most of the day at work. The drone will fly through the offices announcing that it is time to close.

Employees staying at work for most of the day has been a problem in Japan for years. The problem has become so bad that some companies are taking steps to lower overtime. Last year, it was reported by several news sites that the government would release the names of the companies where there is excessive overtime. It was also announced that names of the companies where insurance payouts have been made over death by overwork would also be revealed.

The drone will fly through the offices and will do more than just announce that it is time to close. The drone will also play music to interrupt and make sure that the employees go home. The camera-equipped drone will be tested by the company in April 2018. The company plans to expand the service to other companies interested in stopping overtime employees from staying long hours.

The drone is the latest idea to stop its employees from staying but experts are not sure that this will do enough to stop them. One of them is Seijiro Takeshita, a university professor in Japan, who told the BBC that the overtime issue is rooted in the country’s work culture. He believes the drone idea is almost a hoax.

The excessive overtime issue has led to numerous health issues and even deaths in Japan. Earlier this year, the work culture was under fire again after it was revealed that a journalist had died from overwork after 159 hours of overtime in a month. The death happened back in 2013 but NHK, the company where the journalist was working, decided to make her death public years later out of respect for the family.

The journalist logged so much overtime that she only took two days off in the month. She died from heart failure but labor inspectors later ruled that her death had been from overwork. Before the news of her death, the government had proposed a 100 hour overtime limit. The limit proposal came after a number of overwork related incidents.