Work shorter, work longer

This April, Matsuyama introduced a new style of work that may appear to be at odds with itself. It was the beginning of our "Workstyle Project (WORK2020)." We have for many years offered shorter working hours for people with childcare responsibilities. In WORK2020, we introduced a flex/core time system. This represents a completely new mechanism for us and a wider range of choice for all employees. For example, full-time, ordinary employees can elect to work as little as 30 hours a week. It brings us closer to our goal of zero overtime hours. Employees are encouraged to shorten their daily work hours as much as possible, and out of this they are able to create new time for themselves. This is time that can be spent enjoying their families. Or volunteering for a good cause. Or learning new things, or just going to the movies. Obviously, they can choose to study something that is related to their work, but they do not have to. We believe that better, and more fulfilling time for themselves (input) will produce better monozukuri as well (output). We are confident that our employees will be happier and more positive, that their enjoyment of their lives will reflect itself in the workplace. Meanwhile, we also encourage employees who wish to "work longer," to spend more years on the job. It is commonly thought that the ability to access and process external information (fluid knowledge) peaks at around age 40. Conversely, the ability to use the knowledge and experience the one has gained to arrive at a general decision (crystallized knowledge) continues to increase well into one's 60s. There are many who want to continue working regardless of their age, who like producing things that other people can use, who want to have goals towards which they work, who want to improve themselves. We want to create an environment for these people, and to do that we have increased the age of mandatory retirement from 60 to 65, and also introduced a new internal career system.

As our demographics age and birth rate declines, we are seeing almost daily progress on new, innovative ways to work across all facets of society. Unfortunately, it is also true that companies of our size have not made much progress on this front. We want to be a leader. We want to strike the proper balance between "work," "personal" and "family" lives. We want our jobs to be satisfying and to add value to our community. Changing our style of work is also a change in how each of us, as individuals, approaches our lives.