Looks like smoke breaks are a thing of the past at this Japanese company.
Compared to the U.S. and many other Western countries Japan has fairly lax smoking regulations. You can still find many public places with smoking rooms and cafes with smoking sections. However, little by little things do seem to be changing and there is perhaps no better evidence of this than a new and quite expansive new anti-smoking policy put forth by a major Japanese company.
Skylark Group, the company that operates some of Japan’s largest casual restaurant chains including Gusto, Bamiyan and Jonathan, has announced that as of December they will no longer be allowing the roughly 300 employees that work at their headquarters located in Musashino City in Tokyo to smoke, even on their way to and from work.
Starting in December not only will SKylark be getting rid of the smoking spaces in its headquarters, it will be prohibiting its employees to smoke (both regular and e-cigarettes) anywhere between its headquarters and the nearest bus stop or train station.
This policy is not just limited to weekdays either. Even employees that happen to be in the vicinity of the company headquarters on weekends and holidays will not be allowed to smoke.
Although this policy may seem extreme, the company has stated that they do not intend to punish employees who can’t stop lighting up. Instead, they plan to take a two-pronged approach of having supervisors warn the offending employee and letting the co-workers of the smoker employees stare at them in disappointment until social pressure forces them to quit smoking.
Skylark has been trying to eliminate smoking from its headquarters since 2014 and a PR representative for the company called the move a “natural progression.”
The company is also looking into reducing the amount of second-hand smoke that the over 100,000 employees that work at the company’s over 3,000 restaurants across Japan are exposed to.