By Marika Katanuma
Kazuhiko Moriyama is betting that well-rested workers are good for business. In fact, he’s placing real money on the wager.
Employees who sleep at least six hours a night, for at least five days a week, are awarded points by Crazy Inc., a wedding organizer in Japan. The points can be exchanged for food in the company cafeteria worth as much as 64,000 yen ($570) per year. Nightly rest will be tracked using an app made by Airweave Inc., a mattress manufacturer.
More than 92 percent of Japanese over the age of 20 say that they aren’t getting enough sleep, according to a survey by Fuji Ryoki, a health-products maker. Thanks to a labor shortage and long-held cultural belief of noble sacrifice for the corporate good, Japan has become notorious for a phenomenon called death-from-overwork, which claimed the life of an ad agency employee in 2015. Employees with happier lives will lead to better performance at the office, according to Moriyama.
“You have to protect workers’ rights, otherwise the country itself will weaken,” Moriyama said. In addition to the sleep incentives, Crazy also promotes better nutrition, exercise and a more positive office environment. Child support is available, as well the opportunity to take company vacations on regular business days.
There’s some evidence that more sleep will lead to improved business performance and higher economic growth. Insufficient sleep costs the U.S. economy as much as $411 billion a year, or 2.28 percent of GDP, according to a 2009 study by Rand Corp. For Japan, the loss is estimated to be $138 billion, or 2.92 percent of GDP.
“I eventually want to reach a million employees,” Moriyama said. “I want to do something that other people will think is crazy.”
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