Japanese Company Gives Its Non-Smoking Staff Six Extra Days Off
If you're a boss or a non-smoker, it's easy to feel a little bit peeved by smoker colleagues being allowed to take extra breaks during the day.
One Japanese company is now taking a creative approach to encouraging its staff to give up the habit - by giving its non-smoking staff a whole six days extra off each year.
Bosses at the Tokyo marketing firm Piala Inc believe that the policy will help staff to put the ciggies down for good.
"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", the company's CEO Takao Asuka told the International Business Times.
According to staff at the firm, each cigarette break that the company's smokers take keeps them away from their desks for a minimum of 15 minutes.
This is because Piala's office is based on the 29th floor of an office block - not exactly a quick journey up and down.
Tokyo's 54-storey Mori Tower. Credit: PA
Despite the obvious incentive offered by the company, Piala's non-smoking staff have been slow to make the most of the initiative.
Since the scheme was introduced, only 30 of the company's 120 employees are said to have taken advantage of their additional paid holiday.
"One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems," said Piala employee Hirotaka Matsushima, who used the extra time to share a long weekend with his family.
"Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate."
The scheme is clearly having some effect, though. According to Matsushima, it has now encouraged four of his fellow employees to give up smoking.
Although the country is renowned for its high life expectancy, Japan continues to have significantly higher smoking rates than the UK.
A survey undertaken in 2016 found that 19.8 percent of Japanese adults smoke, the first time on record that the percentage had fallen below 20%.
The number of smokers in the UK is now substantially lower than one in five with only 17% of adults maintaining the habit.
When it comes to experiments like this, you can only imagine that the UK would do well to introduce a similar initiative itself.
You can even think of extra ones. Now where's the pay rise for staff who ask their colleagues if they want a brew? Heroes, every single one.
Featured Image Credit: PA