Author: Toru Kumagai
Publisher: Seishun Publishing
Our goal is to have better labor productivity, so I tried reading this book. In the past, I have read similar books. I feel like most of them talk about the same thing.
Human health requires "food, rest, and exercise". I believe that the following three is required for improving productivity. That is, "working within the hour, enjoying the time off, and rest". These three are the strategy. As a strategy, machine depending, meeting within 30 minutes, concentrate during the productive morning may be mentioned.
The keyword in this book was "work-life balance". There was interesting information at the end of the book.
"Germany, a country that has longer vacation than Japanese people and has higher GDP than Japan"
"Goal is to work efficiently to create more free time and productivity"
I've experienced working part-time, being a salary worker, a freelancer, and being a business owner. I enjoy being the business owner in which there is no limit to work hours and having the responsibility 24/7. Being a salary worker was the easiest. Being a freelancer was fun but too hard. Working part time was far too long ago.
The following were mentioned in the book:
- Lay-off is as difficult as it is in Japan. It's only easy in the U.S.
- Social insurance fee is high, so the actual pay is low.
- Stores are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
- 30 days of paid holiday. Almost all are used up.
- There are many contract workers, so there are many low-wage working class people.
- Emphasis on work-life balance.
In Germany, law is set for long paid vacation and relatively short work hours. That is, the country protects the work-life balance. It seems that having high concentration and detailed result for work is increasing productivity.
The culture is different. Different religion. No need to copy what the Germans are doing. Instead of that, it might actually be interesting to implement the German working style. The author seems to have experience working bot in Japan and in Germany, but seems to be on the German side.
He also mentions that women has better working environment in Germany.
As a solution to realize work-life balance, following points were suggested:
- Country as a whole must take the lead. Publicize company names that violate the rules, random inspection by the labor office, punishment for the violation.
- Get rid of the idea that working over time is a positive action <personally, I think this is the most important.
- Allow 2-week vacation. During the first week, you start to worry about work. During the second week, you get to actually rest.
Refresh>concentrate>cut the unnecessary part>high productivity. The book mentions that productivity increases in such order.
It might be a good idea to have a company rule where employees are required to completely use up the paid vacation instead of carrying it over to next year (not that you can't carry over to the next year. Carry-over is a right given for all workers).
Above is translation of an article "読んだ本：ドイツ人はなぜ、１年に１５０日休んでも仕事が回るのか" dated November 16, 2017
Translation by Hiroko Matsuda