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What is the best solution for reducing overtime work?


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Going home at the end of your shift

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Can the Gov. make any laws? With they be followed? Will the workers report it if they are not?

It's part of the culture, ingrained, and something many take pride in. It's seems there isn't much that can be done until a grassroots movement turns into a larger movement and elect those that will enforce the new laws.

One example for a new law could be triple pay for overtime. Businesses will balk but it would give the worker more incentive to report it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Going home at the end of your shift

...and entrust second shift to a robot.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Automatic timers on computers, phones and electronics after 10 hours.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Become an unemployed male of no fixed address like a Saitaman!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Based on my past experience:

-Better planning, -Better accountability, -shorter focussed meetings, -No power harrassment, -Enforce proper balance between process orientation and solution orientation.

The above steps needs to be FIRST practised by the management(managers) so that the message trickles down to staff.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Generalist, tenkin system abandoned in favour of specialism, then performance appraisals and resultant incentives weighted towards individual rather than 'team' or company performance.

Watch the hierarchy-reinforcing meetings evaporate, and staff eagerly adopt Pareto Principle task prioritization.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Shorter hours.

Yes, if, instead of "knowing" you have 16 hours to finish Project A, you are told you have four hours to finish, chances are you Will finish it. I think many salary men are thinking they have all day to do something so they Pace themselves for the Long haul rather than a Sprint to the finish.

I think Denmark (?) reduced working hours and saw an Increase in productivity. Explanation was "Got to finish quick."

Of course, the labor laws are enforced in that country, unlike an unnamed safety island country with four unique seasons.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@ borscht - I agree. Governments should apply double time pay to all overtime, so companies manage their people better and increase productivity. I'm at a company that pushes hard on deadlines, and it's amazing what you can do in a short period.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Time Management Stop calling random meeting after work when its time to go home. If you work in a shift rotation system make sure the shift that takes over comes on time and the handover is done correctly. Say no to staff that ask for your help at the last minute. If you have a family and other staffs are jealous that you go home to them whilst they go home to an empty house tough love, don’t stay if they have no social life. Go home and stop worrying about late workers or even if your boss can’t mange his/her own time and needs to say late.

But number one rule; common sense!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Make a law that after 5 p.m. your company must pay you a 50% increase for each extra hour you work. Also known as time and a half.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Be willing to get one-upped by younger and more ambitious brown-nosing yes-men who will gladly take that overtime work from you because that's the only way to "succeed" in the country's workplace. If you're not willing to do that, well, you will always work overtime, underpaid, until ill.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Chucking back to back Monday/Friday sickies to teach your boss a lesson.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not rocket science. Others have made many sensible points above. Until some back pressure is placed on this culture of slavery, blind servitude and looking important/busy when you're actually not, nothing will change. Simple.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Let the Japanese people keep more of their wealth. An example could be to reform the death duties levied on land and houses. At present, a family home can be broken up due to high taxes. Land or houses not being utilized should also be auctioned off, the present system causes dilapidation and inefficient use of resources.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Improved productivity.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

first, seriously recognizing that the working culture has to change and just implement the rules already laid down by the gov.

service overtime should see a company punished by 1 million yen per person. All overtime MUST be paid at double the regular rate, and there needs to be a phone number or website that one can contact to anoymously complain about their company should it violate the rules. Also, have the police come and investigate ANY allegations and shut the company down if there are violations.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japanese have to go on strike for better wages and living conditions. They don't just get automatically resolved unless you actually resolve them. That's how we got our weekends and hours limits. Since then they have been whittled down by a lack of backbone as well so we're not seeing the situation clearly either. Time to make a difference in people's lives and your own

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Exactly. In most developed nations, there was a revolution of some sort when it comes to workers' rights. We fought for change and it worked for a while. The work culture is still far more humane in most, if not all other developed nations. I see nothing of the sort in Japan's modern history (unless you want to call industrialization a revolution). Just a constant 'shouganai'.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A shift in mentality of valuing "hard" work to smart work. We live in an "add smart to whatever" age, yet many still doesn't realize it also applies to "work".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What is the best solution for reducing overtime work?

Overtime comes from three causes:

not finishing work in predicted or allotted time


there just being too much work.

Oh, sometimes just employees hanging around because they have nothing better to do.

To solve problem, in this economy:

better organization or robots

better organization or robots

employ more people or robots

Anywhere else: rules for employers and employees, mutual loyalty between employers and employees effecting appropriate work conditions and adherence to them, proper adjustment of productivity to prevailing conditions - all leading to a work culture in which overtime is not a likely or preferred aspect.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There is no solution, nothing will ever change here.

It's part of their culture to be worked to death and to be willing to be worked to death.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japanese do not have a highly developed sense of personal time; it has never been part of this culture. From the age of 3 to 18 they have virtually every waking moment planned out for them, and compete to execute arbitrary, meaningless tasks faster and better than their peers. They then transfer this attitude to the workplace. As long as work is viewed primarily as a loyalty test and loyalty is tested by the willingness of employees to engage in self-denial and self-sacrifice, there will be no change.

8 ( +9 / -1 )


Though I'm much busier now than I ever was while working. At least it is stuff I want to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Excellent post. You nailed it.

A common misconception is that overtime occurs because Japanese workers simply decide of their own volition to stay after hours. This isn't the even remotely case the majority of the time. Workers stay because there is too much work yet to be done and no one else able or willing to do it.

The reality is that poor management, crippling inefficiency, and an absurdly unrealistic expectation of how much work one person can realistically do in a typical 8-hour day all combine with a toxic work environment rife with power harassment and petty jealousies to create the perfect storm for these 60, 70, and 80-hour work weeks that have long been a de facto way of life in corporate Japan.

Change has to come from internal sources, and it has to come from the top. But it also has to come from the bottom in the form of rank-and-file workers creating and demanding more from effective labor unions -- and not these watered-down wholly impotent versions that are really little more than management-run and management-sanctioned control apparatuses.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

make laws with teeth, any company that breaks overtime laws is named and shamed and fined heavily. Whistleblower / salarymen need strong laws to protect them if they speak out. Until there are regulators that have powers to enforce these laws workers will always be taken advantage of.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Don't over promise. Don't take on more work than you can handle. Be realistic on what you can manage within a deadline . If you can't reduce your workload then just leave at the end of your shift. If your colleagues or boss complains just say: 体調不良 (taichoufuryou - I'm not feeling good.) The point is unless you are experiencing any physical symptoms most people will not understand why you cannot continue to work long hours.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

garfield1275NOV. 04, 2016 - 08:51AM JST

SenseNotSoCommonNOV. 04, 2016 - 09:20AM JST

Yup, totally agreed. The overtime problem in Japan is a failure of management. Because Japanese leaders are unprepared to lead within their companies, they push employees to work harder oblivious to the damage such an unpleasant environment does to their morale. If the people at the top did their jobs, the people at the bottom would get theirs done on time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Turn the heat real high during the fall, winter and spring, and turning the air really cold during the summer.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Point out your contracted working hours

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The best solution for reducing overtime work is to not work so much overtime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Culture change in which most employees firmly go home at a certain time, despite what buchos and shachos may say. If it reaches a critical threshold things will change. Will take time, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's easy: enforce the existing laws on overtime payments, with massive fines and jail time for those who break the law. Once their wage bills double companies will soon force their workers to reduce their hours.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't do it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The ingrained cultural aspects will be REALLY hard to change, so I think the BEST way to really start making things better has already been pointed out above by many.

ANY hours after an 8hr work day you get paid 1.5, if on weekends DOUBLE!!!

This alone would FORCE companies to change for the better(hey Mitsubishi, there is a good slogan for ya!)

And of course the govt at MINIMUM ENFORCE current labour laws, which the DO NOT!

And don't allow companies to call employees ""managers"" when clearly they are NOT to avoid paying overtime!

This is imo the best way to kick off any chance of meaningful change

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other than workplace "pretending to be busy" and genuine overtime tasks, there is ingrained social/family pressure of going home lately to show the wify that "俺は頑張っているぞ(Look, I'm working hard!)". Usually, the Japanese wives don't become glad if hubbies come earlier to have quality time rather they get annoyed to see their men earlier than expected.

On the other hand, the unmarried guys have nothing to do at home, so they kill time in the office for prolonged time or attend nomikai(drinking party).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First, is the workload reasonable? If there's too much work to do in a standard work week, it's no wonder employees are working overtime. So, if possible, try to streamline processes or hire additional staff.

Second, are there ways to incentivize employees to work efficiently? Maybe bonuses or rewards for meeting deadlines.

And finally, communication is key. Make sure everyone knows what's expected of them, and encourage open dialogue about workload and scheduling. By addressing these issues, you may be able to reduce the need for overtime work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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