HOME > About the azbil Group > Public Relations > azbil MIND > “Work-Style Reform” Leads to Employee Health and Well-Being

“Work-Style Reform” Leads to Employee Health and Well-Being

Since 2016, Azbil has promoted “work-style reform” and made various efforts related to its three policies of reduction in the total working hours of each employee, realization of healthy lives both physically and mentally, and creation of harassment-free workplaces. These efforts on behalf of health-conscious management were recognized, and Azbil was selected as a “White 500” company in an award program by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2018. Azbil continues to work on issues that have been identified by analyzing data collected in various surveys, and continues to promote work-style reform.

Work-Style Reform Strengthens Initiatives for Reducing Total Working Hours

Since 2016, the Japanese government’s “work-style reform” initiative has sought to realize a society of “dynamic engagement of all citizens.” One of the pillars of the reform effort is the reduction of long working hours. In Japan, there has been a value system in which working long hours is admired, and long hours and overtime work are seen as natural. However, these labor practices can sometimes have tragic consequences, such as death from overwork. Prompt action to improve labor practices is therefore necessary. Japanese society is also facing problems like fewer workers due to a decreasing birthrate and aging population, in addition to the diversifying needs of workers, many of whom raise children or nurse a family member. Work-style reform is a pressing issue for society, and it calls for responsible action from businesses.

Azbil Corporation has been improving its personnel system with a focus on implementing work-style reform since 2016, with its three policies of reduction in the total working hours of each employee, realization of healthy lives both physically and mentally, and creation of harassment-free workplaces.

In addition to improving employees’ work-life balance so that they can lead fulfilling lives, and keeping them happy and healthy, with both sound mind and body, these efforts aim to increase productivity at work, improve customer satisfaction, and put our Group philosophy into practice.

Increasing productivity is essential in order to provide customers with ever greater value while reducing working hours. Accordingly, Azbil is promoting various measures to improve productivity. The company began to take action to reduce working hours 20 years ago on account of consideration for the lives of employees and their families. Prior to fiscal year 2016, when the work-style reform initiative began, Azbil was already taking measures such as introducing no-overtime days and restricting the annual total of working hours. As part of our efforts to implement workstyle reform, we set the target of limiting overtime work for all employees. In the first fiscal year of this effort, the target was 80 hours per month or less, a criterion provided by Japan’s Labour Standards Inspection Office for the purpose of preventing industrial accidents. For this year, we set a stricter target to further reduce overtime work. We track employee attendance using our own access control system and utilize the information to understand employees’ working hours and achieve the reduction target.

Reducing the total number of work hours cannot be accomplished by employees’ individual efforts only, so we as an organization are supporting the reform effort by means of framework, personnel, and systems.

First, we have established a framework that allows us to level the workload across organizations. We did a detailed analysis of the workload of departments with a higher total of working hours, reduced the workload by making adjustments or by cooperation with related departments, and thereby established a framework for reducing overtime work.

We also have a system to forecast workloads with high accuracy. This helps to secure personnel for busy seasons by forecasting and analyzing when, in which department, and by how much the workload will increase due to a long-term project, etc.

Regarding systems, we have implemented a working system that enables employees to flexibly work according to the needs of customers or working hours in the field. In addition, we established satellite offices and a system for work support by in-house staff at sales offices to shorten travel time and improve work efficiency.

Within two years after the work-style reform initiative began, these various measures have reduced the total number of employees with more than 45 hours of overtime per month to one fifth of the previous number.

We are also encouraging employees to use their annual paid leave. Our target for fiscal year 2018 is for every employee to take 12 days or more of paid leave. We introduced a system in 2014 that allows employees to use annual paid leave in hourly units, and we established a leave system in April 2018 that assists employees to study in Japan or abroad with the aim of improving company productivity.

Meter Data Services

A full picture of Azbil work-style reform

Using Health and Survey Data, Creating Workplaces That Are Healthy for Both Body and Mind

To implement our policy of realizing healthy lives both physically and mentally, we are working together with the azbil Group health insurance association in Japan.

In response to an increasing risk of lifestyle diseases or cancer, we now have more extensive health checkups. In addition, we carry out a physical fitness test aimed at preventing falls, and we have daily exercise breaks in the workplace.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is promoting a health data plan in which health insurance associations analyze data from employee health checkups and utilize it to promote better health. Starting in fiscal year 2015, all health insurance associations have been required to formulate a health data plan. Prior to 2015, the azbil Group’s health insurance association was chosen as one of 52 health insurance associations to formulate a model plan.

Azbil is also making efforts to maintain employees’ mental health by increasing the number of industrial physicians. Moreover, training for managers includes mental health–related content in order to foster an understanding of mental-health issues in the workplace and to identify mental disorders earlier.

In fiscal year 2016, we initiated stress checks for all employees in Japan. These checks investigate whether the amount of workload and duties of each person are appropriate and whether assistance received from supervisors and coworkers is sufficient. In workplaces where many employees have high stress, the Human Resources Department has conversations directly with employees and gives advice for improving the workplace environment. Additionally, we conduct an employee satisfaction survey and a compliance awareness survey every year. The results of these surveys are utilized to design personnel policies that create healthy and happy workplaces, and the results are conveyed to supervisors in each workplace to improve management.

Azbil Selected as a White 500 Company for Its Health-Conscious Management

Thanks to praise for its various initiatives on health, the azbil Group was selected as a White 500 company in the large enterprise category of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s 2018 Certified Health and Productivity Management Organization Recognition Program, which recognized outstanding enterprises engaged in health-conscious management.

Azbil is continuing to enhance communication in the workplace using various data, such as attendance information and survey results, and is continuing to promote work-style reform while providing products and services that are valuable to customers.

This article was published on January 1, 2019.