Japanese firm tells workers: drinks are on us
Boozing into the night might inhibit coherent speech, but a Japanese company bets it will make workers communicate better. And it's even willing to pay for it.
Japan General Estate Co said Tuesday it is planning to dole out thousands of dollars a month for its employees to go on the town in a bid to help communication.
Japanese companies routinely offer generous expense accounts to entertain clients, but the real estate company is going a step further by subsidising workers' drinking sessions with one another.
The company plans to offer managers who supervise 20 or more people up to 300,000 yen (3,000 dollars) a month to take them out. Managers with fewer than 20 workers will get 200,000 yen, a company statement said.
After-hours drinking is encouraged in Japanese corporate culture as a way to break the ice in work environments that can be uptight and formal.
But critics say the pressure to drink is one of the reasons why Japan's population is declining as men in particular spend little time at home.
Japan General Estate said the drinking benefits could alternatively be used for wedding or funeral expenses.
The company is known for its unorthodox work policies, such as paying 100,000 yen in benefits every month to employees who do not smoke.