ITOCHU Announces Initiative to Achieve More Effective Working Style
August 2, 2013
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced that it will review the working style of its employees. The new initiative is to shift its working hours from a night-focused style to a morning-focused centered on the basic time of 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.,from the standpoint of further improving their operating performance, management of their health, and ensuring they adopt the customer’s perspective.
Background of the initiative
In October 2012, ITOCHU started companywide application of a flexible-time system (excluding individuals and organizations with specific circumstances, such as those raising children or performing nursing care) in efforts to reform the mindset of the working style to more effectively respond to customers’ expectations and trust.
Moreover, though ITOCHU has long been striving to reduce overtime work from the perspective of managing employee health and promoting effective operations, and despite a certain level of positive achievement, it is currently facing difficulties in further prompting reduced overtime.
In particular, working late into the night will not only fatigues employees, but also inevitably tends to reduce work efficiency since there is no clear limitation for ending work. It is believed that employees are both physically and mentally more energetic in the earlier morning hours. Furthermore when work is set to start at 9 a.m., operations carried out within a limited time are performed more effectively.
This initiative adopts a basic stance similar to before in that all employees complete their duties during designated working hours (9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) to the extent possible, and avoids overtime work. By promoting this initiative, it is aimed to encourage completing unavoidable overtime work the next morning instead working at night.
Outline of the initiative
(1) Work at night
- Night work (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.) as stipulated in the Labor Standards Act will be prohibited instead of just being prohibited in principle, as previously set forth, and all lights will be completely turned off at 10 p.m. Moreover, work after 8 p.m. will in principle be prohibited.
(2) Work in the morning
- In promoting this initiative, as incentive for employees subject to time management, extra wages (50%) currently provided for night work from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be paid for work done before 9 a.m.
- In addition, from the perspective of managing employees’ health, the Company is considering providing free light meals (such as bananas, yogurt and other brands of Dole Japan G.K., a company owned by the ITOCHU Group) to employees who begin work before 8 a.m.
- The Company plans to start the new system from October 1, 2013 after providing presentation meetings for employees, consulting with the labor union, and revising its employment regulations and other rules. However, the system will only be put in place until March 2014, at which point a decision on continuing it will be made based on confirming its effects by reviewing overtime hours and other relevant matters during those previous six months.
ITOCHU believes that this initiative will not only further strengthen the effectiveness of operations and maintain and improve its employees’ health, but also be able to support work styles of female employees caring for their families and children, who come to the office in the early morning because of the difficulties for them to work overtime at night. ITOCHU believes that at a time such as now, when corporate performance is strong, it should pay greater attention to measures to further streamline operations, and hopes that its employees will have their mindsetto always act with mindfulness of the customer’s best interests.