Work Style Reform

Basic Concepts

KOKUYO is generating change in the work styles of employees centered on how time is used so as to secure the ability for sustainable growth. KOKUYO seeks to contribute toward the growth of organizations and individuals by practicing work styles that allow employees to independently choose the time and place of work while utilizing systems such as telecommuting as well as by addressing factors obstructing the improvement of productivity to increase “disposable time.”

Systems

Achieving a Good Work-life Balance

The KOKUYO Group is committed to providing ideal working conditions with consideration for achieving a good work-life balance.

These efforts have been recognized by the government and three of the group companies have received a certification logo (nickname: Kurumin Mark) as of December 31, 2020. The Kurumin Mark is a certification logo issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, which promotes the improvement of the nation’s declining birth rate, based on the Law for Measures to Support the Development of the Next Generation, to recognize corporations and organizations taking an active stance in supporting child-raising.

Holders of Kurumin Mark as of December 31, 2020: KOKUYO Co., Ltd., KAUNET Co., Ltd., KOKUYO Marketing Co., Ltd.

Giving employees flexibility in where and when they work

To promote a more flexible and efficient workplace, we have introduced for some employees complete flexitime—with no predetermined core period. We also try to find the most efficient balance between remote working and office working.

Re-employment System for Employees Who Left Their Jobs Due to Personal Circumstances

KOKUYO has a re-employment system for regular employees who left their jobs due to personal circumstances such as marriage, child-bearing, childcare, family care, job relocation of spouse, study abroad, volunteer work, career change and other reasons recognized by the company. By bringing in the experiences and knowledge developed outside the KOKUYO Group, it is hoped that these employees will further expand the diversity of the Group.

Handling Re-employment of Mandatory Retirees

KOKUYO has in place a system which, in principle, allows employees who wish to work at the KOKUYO Group after retiring at the mandatory age of 60 to continue work as senior employees. Through this initiative, we offer opportunities for employees to continue applying themselves in society after mandatory retirement. At the same time, we can expect them to use their experience and knowledge developed so far in their work to contribute toward developing younger employees.

Play work: A new approach to work

In April 2020, we launched a new system of working and employee welfare. Based on Play Work, a concept promoted by HR, the new system is designed to promote a flexible and adaptive workforce that celebrates individuality, ensuring that each employee feels valued and empowered. To achieve this purpose, the new system overhauls the traditional fixed work schedules. The system has the following components.

・Use of remote working
・Reduction of actual hours worked (we aim for each employee to work less than 1,930 hours per year)
・Provision of special leave to promote new approach to life and work
・New employee welfare program that gives employees more disposable time and encourages them to invest more in wellbeing and learning

As people are living longer and leading longer working lives, we launched this program to ensure that our employees can continue to play an active role in society, enjoy a healthy body and mind, and have time for learning and personal growth.

Paperless accounting

KOKUYO has in place a system which, in principle, allows employees who wish to work at the KOKUYO Group after retiring at the mandatory age of 60 to continue work as senior employees. Through this initiative, we offer opportunities for employees to continue applying themselves in society after mandatory retirement. At the same time, we can expect them to use their experience and knowledge developed so far in their work to contribute toward developing younger employees.

Internal training course for understanding and using AI

From August to October, 2020, we ran an internal training course about understanding and using AI. The course was conducted in Tokyo and Osaka and attended by around 70 people. Led by an outside instructor, the course used a practical learning format to teach programming and mathematics skills for handling AI and machine learning. It also provided a chance to share ideas for applying AI in business processes. Attendees learned strategies for navigating the AI bubble and for accomplishing digital transformation*.

* Use of digital technology to transform business processes

Attendees listen to a lecture (Tokyo)

Introducing CarriRo®, a delivery robot

On December 3, 2020, KOKUYO Logitem introduced CarriRo®, a robot that can pull or follow carts and move autonomously. As this was the first time such a robot had been used to deliver furniture to office buildings, KOKUYO Logitem worked with the supplier to fine tune the robot during transportation. We will continue to use digital and robotic technology to streamline operations at distribution sites.

* Use of digital technology to transform business processes

CarriRo® unloading the furniture deliveries

Eye tracking analysis at warehouse

KOKUYO Supply Logistics used eye tracking technology to boost the productivity and quality of the warehouse picking process at its integrated distribution center in Chubu. Patterns of visual attention were compared between experienced and novice warehouse staff in order to identify issues and find ways to improve productivity. The findings were incorporated into staff training and warehouse layout.

*Website content Japanese language only

A screenshot from the eye tracker. The red dot indicates point of gaze.

A program for awarding ideas for an empowered workplace

A strategic priority in our second medium-term plan is to accelerate workplace flexibility and productivity. This task requires every employee to think independently and to take the initiative in boosting the efficacy and efficiency of the workplace. To help encourage the necessary changes, we launched a program that rewards ideas for workplace flexibility and productivity and another program that rewards good practices for the same. The 2020 award focused on ideas for new and better workstyles, an issue that was particularly topical that year, as the pandemic had led to sweeping changes in working patterns. It also introduced the “top pull prize” to honor leaders who helped their team achieve growth or improve their performance.

Employees contributed many ideas for turning the pandemic crisis into an opportunity. Each entry for the top pull prize emphasized the team members’ gratitude toward the leader.

Senior managers presented the awards and commented on the ideas. Through schemes such as this, we aim to inculcate a new workplace culture that rewards employees for taking the initiative.