After the high profile suicide of one of their employees reportedly due to overwork last December, Japanese advertising and PR agency Dentsu began implementing new policies to improve its working conditions.
Female employee Matsuri Takahashi reportedly committed suicide due to “emotional and mental difficulties of dealing with her workload”. The firm has now officially implemented a 10 p.m. “lights out, no work policy” at the Dentsu’s corporate headquarters in Tokyo effective last Monday, Oct. 24. Earlier this month, the company also reduced the amount of allowable overtime their employees can take per month, according to RocketNews24.
Working until 10 p.m. may still seem to be a grueling schedule to work for many, however in Japan, it’s quite common for employees to still be working until much later. By turning the lights off at 10 p.m., Dentsu is hoping to encourage workaholic employees to go home earlier than they usually do.
Dentsu will also be implementing the same policy to all its regional offices around Japan. The order also has provisioned to keep them off until at least 5 a.m. the next morning, keeping the lights off for seven hours. Beginning Nov. 1, Dentsu will again be readjusting its maximum per-employee overtime limits even further down from 70 hours per month to just 65.
A representative from Dentsu was quoted as saying, “We are putting the utmost efforts into improving our working environment for the sake of employee health and legal compliance.”
Hopefully, the company’s efforts do not stop there — the amount of workload assigned by managers may also get an equivalent reduction to help ease out the burden of the overworked employees and avoid further cases of karoshi, or “death by overwork.”