How Japanese Companies Are Using Drones and Capes to Discourage Overtime

Group of young business team working late at night in meeting room trying to complete their assignments.
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Here at The Penny Hoarder, we like to help our readers find ways to put more money in their pockets.

While earning a paycheck from a great job fulfills that mission, putting in overtime to the point of making you physically or mentally ill is certainly not the goal.

It’s all about striking the right balance.

After all, if you’re overworked and stressed out to the point of health decline, you could find yourself missing work days and facing expensive medical bills. And nobody wants that.

In extreme cases, too much overtime has led to death. Business Insider reports on how  31-year-old Japanese journalist Miwa Sado died from congestive heart failure in 2013 after working nearly 160 hours of overtime in a month.

Her case, unfortunately, isn’t an isolated occurrence. There’s even a word in the Japanese language — “karoshi” — that means “death from overwork.”

To combat the problem with overworking, some companies in Japan are looking into unique ways to curb their workaholic culture.

Embarrassing and Annoying Workers Into Going Home

Working Mother reports one Japanese IT company makes its employees wear purple “embarrassment” capes when they work late.

This overwork-shaming method, suggested by the employees themselves, is  implemented only once a month, but it has reportedly curbed overtime hours by 50 percent.

But maybe purple is your color. Or the idea of wearing a cape in the office empowers you. But would you stick around, burning the midnight oil at work if a musical drone was buzzing around your head playing “Auld Lang Syne”?

Three Japanese companies are looking into developing just that as a measure to get late workers to pack up their belongings and head home for the evening, Working Mother reports.

These unusual measures to put a stop to overworking may not be coming to the U.S. any time soon, but it’s definitely interesting to take a look at how far some companies will go to establish a sense of work-life balance.

Less Extreme Measures to Help You Strike a Balance

Purple capes and singing drones are out-of-the-box methods, but if you struggle with work-life balance you may want to consider these alternatives:

1. Take Advantage of Your Vacation Days

It’s important to unplug every now and then. If your job offers vacation days or paid time off, please use them!

This post shares tips on how to make the most of your vacation time without spending a bunch of money.

2. Implement a Mindfulness Practice Into Your Workday

While clocking out exactly at the end of your requisite eight hours sounds lovely, there are always those days where your workload demands just a little more time.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed with an overloaded schedule, consider implementing a brief, daily mindfulness practice to keep your stress levels at bay.

This post shares a five-step plan for starting a regular practice at work that takes up only five minutes.

3. Consider Working From Home

Sometimes stepping away from the office altogether works wonders for achieving work-life balance. Many companies these days accommodate remote workers.

We’re always posting new job opportunities at various companies that are looking to fill work-from-home positions. Like The Penny Hoarder Jobs on Facebook to stay in the loop!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.