“Moon-bound Japanese billionaire’s secret: Work less”—Bangkok Post article, 10/22/18
Anyone employed in Japan thinking ‘work less’—in a country where all the people work such long hours that there is *literally* a word for people that *actually* collapse from sudden occupational overwork-death (Karōshi 過労死)— should be considered a space cadet.
Presenting Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa who says that working less, not more, was EXACTLY the reason why he could build a company worth $8B and earn a ticket to the moon.
The short workday is the reason for the success of his company ‘Zozo’, where he encourages employees to work more efficiently and find more inspiration outside the office.
“When our employees began working differently, under the program, they stopped wasteful activities, wasteful conversations and wasteful meetings. As a result, they could concentrate more, be more productive and then go home after six hours,” Maezawa said at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, where he held a news conference about his lunar trip.
Now there’s an idea that might also work in the US.
Let’s call it the federal ‘Less Hours On The Job Guarantee’ program.
The Pure ‘prescription’ solution is to get the person working in your office for only six hours a day to be just as productive (same output) as the person working in your competitor’s office for ten hours a day.
The Political ‘prescription’ solution is to simply pander to your employees, telling them that the government should create more jobs (Job Guarantee), create more dollars (more deficit spending) and call it a day.
If we had a jobs shortage problem, then a temporary ‘job guarantee’ program could be needed, but we don’t have a job shortage problem right now, we have a labor shortage problem right now. When companies are starving for workers, you need more workers, not more jobs. During record-breaking jobs growth, when cities are offering to pay you a bonus / pay your moving expenses / pay off your student loan debt to come work there, you don’t need the government to create more jobs, you need the government to try to get the workers that are already working in the labor force to work more productively.
When it comes to workers, that’s Pure ‘prescription’ thinking.
The same goes for dollars. We don’t need more dollars (more deficits), we need to get the dollars already in existence in the banking system working more productively.
That could help ‘defrost’ some of the $$$, to get them out from the nonfunctional (financial) economy and back into the functional (real) economy. In other words, more ‘deficits’ for more ‘this’ and more ‘that’, which always sounds so virtuous (what your listeners want to hear), isn’t always the best idea (what your listeners need). Sometimes less is more. Shortening the workweek, that’s your classic example of Pure ‘prescription’ MMT v. Political ‘prescription’ MMT.
“The answer lies in organic solutions, that unlock nonproductive savings back into productive capital. We need an eco-feedback loop that embraces human capital producing more useful output instead of continuing to increase gov’t deficits that results in just more capital producing more capital.” —Jim Boukis
Thanks for reading,
Follow Jim ‘MineThis1’ Boukis at https://www.facebook.com/InvestingMMT/
Microsoft tried a 4-day workweek in Japan. Productivity jumped 40%
The company introduced a program this summer in Japan called the ‘Work Life Choice Challenge,’ which shut down its offices every Friday in August and gave all employees an extra day off each week.
The results were promising: While the amount of time spent at work was cut dramatically, productivity — measured by sales per employee — went up by almost 40%compared to the same period the previous year, the company said in a statement last week.
In addition to reducing working hours, managers urged staff to cut down on the time they spent in meetings and responding to emails.
They suggested that meetings should last no longer than 30 minutes. Employees were also encouraged to cut down on meetings altogether by using an online messaging app (Microsoft’s, of course).
The effects were widespread. More than 90% of Microsoft’s 2,280 employees in Japan later said they were impacted by the new measures, according to the company.
By shutting down earlier each week, the company was also able to save on other resources, such as electricity.
The initiative is timely. Japan has long grappled with a grim — and in some cases, fatal — culture of overwork. The problem is so severe, the country has even coined a term for it: karoshi means death by overwork from stress-induced illnesses or severe depression.
The issue attractedinternational attention in 2015, when an employee at Japanese advertising giant Dentsu died by suicide on Christmas Day. Tokyo officials later said that the staffer had worked excessive amounts of overtime.
That has led businesses to start searching for solutions. Some companies have begun offering employees more flexibility, and the government has launched a campaign called ‘Premium Friday,’ which encourages workers to leave early every last Friday of the month.
Microsoft, for its part, says it will conduct another experiment in Japan later this year. It plans to ask employees to come up with new measures to improve work-life balance and efficiency, and will also ask other companies to join the initiative.”