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A New Early Bird Reward System

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After some discussion at the leaders' meeting last Thursday, I made an announcement the following day; "We are going to modify the Early Bird Reward system!"

At e-Jan Networks, we have a flextime system. Our coretime is between 10 am and 3pm; this means, you can start working before 10am and leave after 3pm as long as the daily working hours average to 8 hours per day in a month. In order for everyone to have a variety of options, we have most of the regular meetings within the core time.

On the other hand, there are some jobs that requires employees to be at the office before 9am to correspond with customers. Because of the traffic conditions in Tokyo, coming to the office by 9am is far more painful than coming by 10am, and it is simply unfair for those who have to be in by 9am. In order to solve this, five years ago, we created the "Early Bird Reward (EBR)" system which compensates for the "commuting pain." Of course, this is on top of overtime pay.

The EBR system is as follows; employees clock-in to the system at the company by clicking the "start work" button, so the time is automatically recorded into the system. If the number of 9am clock-ins exceeds ten a month, the company pays a reward of 1,000 yen for those days in the following month. The "ten times a month", is an indication of the job requiring the person to be on standby before 9am.

Of course, some people might show up before 9am just because they like to start early, but we consider that to be OK. I am a strong believer of high productivity in the mornings so, it justifies the 1,000 yen reward per day for good habit. On top of that, in the rare case that there's any trouble, it is very helpful to have a few people in the office in the early morning.

The other day, I rethought the EBR system. I wanted to use the EBR system to have more people actually experience and appreciate high productivity in the morning hours, rather than just leaving it as a "commuting pain compensation" system. During this season, sunrise is quite early, so it is easier to wake up; a good opportunity for us to start this experiment. So we have decided to upgrade the EBR system by adding the following items valid June through September:

  • Standby before 7am; original EBR + 1,000 yen per day.
  • Standby before 8am; original EBR + 500 yen per day.

I would like to observe how this game could change our workstyle. I want people to avoid rush hours, be more productive, and leave the office early so they can enjoy their personal time in the evenings. According to a book I read the other day, I obtained the concept that "Giving children money for what they have accomplished is not a bad way to educate them." So let's try and see how it goes!

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