Unique Allowance: Unexpected Effects of a Company’s “Unique Allowance”: 2,000 yen just for coming to work, 500 yen for lunch… | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Unique Allowance: Unexpected Effects of a Company’s “Unique Allowance”: 2,000 yen just for coming to work, 500 yen for lunch…

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Agileware’s office space, with a full-flex system that allows employees to work at any time during the day, and a corporate culture that respects the pace of each individual.

A company is a place where you have to go. So even if you don’t want to meet your boss or colleagues you don’t like, or even if you don’t like the train ride, you go there. From Corona to here, and even now that remote work has become the norm, this is still the case. However, I heard that there are companies that pay you an allowance just for going to the office. Is this true?

We have introduced a ‘coming to work allowance’ in September. Employees are required to stay in the office for four hours, and will be paid 2,000 yen a day for up to 10 days a month. Also, if you have lunch with other employees on the day you come to work, you will receive an additional 500 yen.

(Osaka/Tokyo), which is engaged in system development and other businesses. The company originally adopted a full-flex system, allowing each employee to work at his or her own pace. This background allowed the company to smoothly transition to a fully remote work environment even after the COVID-19 crisis. However, now that the COVID-19 crisis is over, they would like to make a hybrid of remote and offline work, but the prolonged COVID-19 crisis has made online work the norm, and it is difficult to go back to the way things were before.

Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, business has been good, and the number of employees has increased from 40 in ’20 to 60,” he said. However, as the number of people who joined the company after the remote period increased, it happened that new employees did not stick with the company, although there were not many of them. We came to the conclusion that if we only used the remote system, we would not be able to understand the current state of the company, and we would not be able to notice the reasons why people who left were leaving,” said Mitsuyoshi Kawabata, CEO.

Offline, we can see how each other is doing and notice if there is a mental disorder, help each other out, and create a more trusting relationship. I was concerned that such a culture might be missing before we knew it. This concern led to the introduction of the “attendance allowance” system in September.

Prior to August, the system was “free to come to work, but we felt that employees should come to work at least once a month,” says Mr. Okada. So has the number of employees coming to work increased since September?

Since no formal survey has been conducted since the system was introduced, we asked Ms. Okada how many employees came to work during the past week, and found that the number ranged from 8 to 15 out of the 40 employees in the Osaka office. The Tokyo office has many salespeople who need to work face to face, so the number is a little higher, he said.

The number of days of work since the start of the system is twice a week for A, about once a week for B, and no change for C. “It depends on the nature of the work. I think those in group B are coming to work more than before.

And those who don’t come at all have their own reasons, Okada says.

I think those who rarely come to work have a need to not come to work,” he said. So they have developed a lifestyle of remote work. For example, if they have to do housework or pick up and drop off their children, coming to work would disrupt that rhythm and shorten their work hours. We want to respect the pace of each individual’s life, so we have made it a form of allowance rather than forcing employees to come to work.

The effect of increasing the number of employees coming to work has yet to be seen in tangible ways, he says. However, he has noticed a visible change in the “lunch allowance.

Until now, it was difficult to ask someone to go to lunch with you unless you were very good friends,” he said. But since September, everyone starts to get anxious before midnight. People naturally started asking, “Who wants to go to lunch today? Only those who were really busy stayed in the office, and now we have a larger group going to lunch than before.

(Mr. Okada) “By going to lunch together, we were able to have a lot of small talk about what was going on in the office, and I think it deepened communication among employees. As mentioned above, only about 10 members come to the office, which is a small portion of the total number of employees, so in many cases, the people they go to lunch with are people with whom they do not have much contact in their daily work. I can talk directly with people whom I know their names and jobs online, but I don’t know much about them beyond that,” he said.

Especially for those who joined the company in the last couple of years and have done most of their work online, I think this is a good opportunity to make new connections.

The company also introduced a three-day weekend every other week last year. Within a year of its introduction, working hours were reduced and productivity increased in terms of sales and recurring profit. However, CEO Kawabata says that what is important cannot be measured in terms of productivity.

To be honest, I don’t necessarily care about productivity. I want to prove that performance can only be improved by creating a culture and climate that values each and every employee, not by providing benefits because performance is improving. I hope that by placing well-being management as our theme, we can motivate employees to improve their performance, and I hope that this will spread to other companies that see this.

While it is natural to “work to be happy,” “working happily” may not be quite as easy as it sounds.

The “lunch allowance” applies not only to eating out, but also to having lunch with other employees within the company.
Some of the unusual systems include “Snacks are limited to 200 yen per day! Allowance” is also available.

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