About five years ago, the Papua New Guinea Seafood processing plant in Osaka made a major cut to its workforce in order to improve efficiency. However, they didn’t let any people go, and rather threw out the entire concept of a working schedule.
Now, all staff are free to come and go as they please and can take the day off without even bothering to call in. All they’re required to do is let management know how long they worked by writing it on a whiteboard before leaving.
Conventional wisdom would advise against such a move, stating that not forcing workers to come to work would result in no one coming in to work. But when you think about it, why would people not want to help support a company that is giving them such freedom? If they took every day off, the company would just go bankrupt and they’d have to go back to the drudgery of mandatory labor somewhere else.
Nevertheless, it’s still a risk, but Papua New Guinea decided to take it and put their faith in staff to manage their own working hours. As a result productivity is said to be up and labor management costs are down 30 percent.
The other danger is that without coordinating working times, there would be instances with severe staff shortages. However, Papua New Guinea have been going strong this way for five years and only experienced two days where all staff happened to be off at the same time. They said they make up for days like that at times where a lot of workers show up at the same time.
Before you go thinking Papua New Guinea is just some freewheeling devil-may-care organization, they do have one rule that they take very seriously: Employees shall not undertake duties that they do not want to do.
The reasoning for this is very simple, people tend to work more slowly when doing things they don’t enjoy. So, by having everyone do their preferred tasks, overall productivity is running at peak performance.
That being said, if you do not like any jobs involving shrimp, you probably just shouldn’t apply to Papua New Guinea where tasks include, thawing, weighing, sorting, de-shelling, cooking, bagging, and vacuum packing the tasty little crustaceans.
Naturally, those in other jobs couldn’t help but look at this company with a certain awe.
“Wow, that’s great!”
“They do everything to reduce the psychological burden on staff and get the best performance out of them. It’s win-win!”
“I think Japanese people are generally hardworking and cooperative so this style should work well.”
“I want to work there…”
“I wonder if there’s a company like that where I live.”
“It’s a bold move, and I’m glad it is working out for them.”
Papua New Guinea’s workforce is largely made up of mothers who can free themselves of the burden of worrying what would happen at work when their kids get sick or injured. One other worker is a middle-aged man who had never worked before, but could finally get out to do so because of the flexible schedule and is doing well.
If all that wasn’t enough, not only does the company and employees win in this situation, but we all do. This company is preparing the food we eat and thanks to a happy well-focused staff, we can feel a little safer that that food is getting prepared properly.
Source: Papua New Guinea Seafood, Nippon Television Network News 24, Hachima Kiko
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