Japanese company rewards non-smokers with an extra week of paid vacation

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/31/japanese-company-rewards-non-s.html


Hmm. I kinda doubt these calculations, at least for most “white collar” jobs. Yeah, my smoking colleagues do leave their desks, but they don’t stop thinking.


Perhaps, but non-smokers don’t typically take as many breaks as smokers do. In fact i’ve personally met various people that took up smoking so that they could take more breaks throughout the work day and not get hassled about not being at their desk.

Thankfully at my current work place i am able to get up and take a break if i need it. I often will walk around the neighborhood since we’re near a quiet residential area, but i doubt being able to take such breaks as a non-smoker is doable everywhere. When i worked retail the only break i was allowed to take was my lunch, and my smoking co-workers could absolutely leave to smoke.


I go on holiday, but I don’t stop thinking.


Smoke breaks are typically used as informal meeting time in Japan and are often part of the social glue that smooths getting decisions made so this is in a way total BS.

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I’ve seen that used as a premise for bits or jokes in various western shows so it’s hardly a uniquely Japanese thing. US companies have been promoting quitting smoking and decisions get made anyway. I’m sure Japan is more than capable enough to make it work, saying “This is how things are” and throwing your hands up ignores that people easily adapt to changing times and circumstances. Just how drinking was common in work places, and i’m sure a lot of decisions got made while having drinks and cigars.


Considering also how few people here actually use their vacation days, again I’m kind of doubtful on this company’s policy. Especially considering that smoking is most prevalent in the generation that is now at department head or at least management level and they are the least likely to use their vacation days so it doesn’t seem to be an incentive especially when those are the very people that the informal meetings are most needed for.

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Not taking enough vacation is definitely a unique problem unto itself. More so in Japan than in the US from what i’ve read in the past in regards to Japanese work habits/stress. I think that’s a separate problem that needs to be tackled to make sure that white collar workers aren’t literally working themselves to an early grave. How to begin to address that i wouldn’t want to guess as i’m sure there’s a lot of ingrained habits and expectations that i’m unfamiliar with, though Nordic countries seem to have the best system for making sure people get plenty of time off to have a really good quality of life and keep happiness and productivity high. I would hope that some lessons can be gleamed from them.

Not sure what you do for a living but i’d be interested to get your point of view from what you’ve experienced.


Sure but I see it as tied to the problem in the topic.

What works there may or may not work here, the cultures being so different after all.

I do information security. Most of my employers have been in the financial sector because thats about the only place that hires for what I do. I’ve worked in very traditional top tier Japanese companies and more relaxed ones but some things are common everywhere.

I’m a bit atypical regarding days off since the Jewish holiday schedule demands so many days per year and I book that time off far in advance and over explain to management and HR about the reasons behind the time off requests. If that means working lots of unpaid overtime to get everything done before hand then thats what it means.


On the other hand, I’d bet the actual hours are much higher. I recently worked with a boss who seemed to be out smoking 15 minutes out of every 30. I’d be willing to bet the researchers soft-pedaled their findings.


I am aware, didn’t say they had to copy it just that some lessons could be learned and adapted. Either way thanks for taking the time to humor me and answering :slight_smile:


We smokers are at least twice as productive, especially when you factor in how much time our sanctimonious co-workers spend complaininng about smokers, fat people and the price of alkaline water.


That is it my experience. They just don’t leave their desk. It’s different for produc,ion, though, where every minute not spent near the machines means something not being produced.

For thinking you’d get paid for? That’s basically just working more hours and making a lower hourly wage.

I read that as “Japanese company rewards non-smokers with an extra WEED of paid vacation” and thought “Well, there’s extra weed in it and that’s nice, but this makes no sense…”


OTH maybe thats an unhealthy culture to have, if you have to smoke to get ahead.

In the U.S. most of us stop thinking and rarely go on holiday. WORK. NO THINK.

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Heh. I recognise a wind-up when I see one. However, here goes with a straight reply…

I am lucky. I get to do creative brain stuff with my job. You can’t switch it off. If I am on holiday and an idea comes, then it is often more relaxing to do it then to put it off: it’s like scratching an itch.

I also read work e-mails on holiday. This is something I could avoid, but there might be something I can easily fix, rather than let someone else bodge it, and the complications pile up.

Work hard, play hard? Stuff that for a lark. There are other lifestyles.

Not the subconscious stuff. If an idle pops up, I make a note of it - literally - and file it for when I work.

This probably depends on the work people do, but it looks like bad processes and bad documentation to me. I’ll admit that I have msg’ed colleagues because the status of some work couldn’t be ascertained and have nothing against getting such a message myself, but actively pulling e-mail? No, sorry, not on my pay grade.

Then again, I work in a place (and it’s not uncommon where I live) where work is work and play is play and working during time meant for relaxing and charging one’s batteries is being frowned upon.

So just “work hard”? :slight_smile: