One of Japan’s largest corporations has come up with an bizarre (but brilliant) solution to workers who just won’t go home on time.
Tackling Japan’s chronic problems with overworking, construction company Taisei has developed a security drone that will fly around the workplace annoying workers until they finally give up and go home on time.
So how does it annoy them? Well other than generally making a loud buzzing sound the drone will also be blaring out “Auld Lang Syne”, a song that Japanese stores traditionally play to signal that it’s about to close.
“You can’t really work when you think ‘it’s coming over any time now’ and hear Auld Lang Syne along with the buzz” said Norihiro Kato, a director at Taisei who was speaking to AFP.
The drone is primarily a security guard that uses a video recorder to sweep the building when most of the company’s employees have gone home.
The footage is then recorded directly onto an SD card which bosses can then look at.
By including both the loud music and the prospect of being recorded the firm hopes to fight the social stigma attached to going home on time.
If this sounds bizarre then it should be a testament to how serious the problem has actually become in Japan.
Despite its good intentions though some experts are dubious over whether it will actually work.
Speaking to the BBC, Seijiro Takeshita, professor of management and information at the University of Shizuoka said: “It’s a pretty silly thing and companies are doing this just because they have to be seen to be doing something on the problem.”
As another expert points out, there’s a very real risk that all it will do is simply force employees to leave the office but then carry on working from home.
While it’s clear that the problem is far bigger than simply sending an annoying drone around the office, this is at the very least a unique approach to tackling the problem of overworking.