Japanese Firm Tries Drones to Prevent Death-by-Overwork

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 11, 2017

A Japanese cleaning and office security firm is considering using drones to curtail white collar workers who stay in the office until late at night as a way to both encourage better work-life balance and discourage death-by-overwork, according to Quartz. Karoshi, or death-by-overwork, is a phenomena where someone works for so long they die, such as the recent case of a woman who recently died after 159 hours of overtime (similar phenomena have appeared in China and Korea). The firm sees this as a technological solution to what is largely seen as a consequence of Japanese work culture, which normalizes extremely long hours. The idea is that small drones would fly through the office late at night and blare music to encourage workers to leave (specifically, they would be playing Auld Lang Syne, that song people play to mark the New Year). While such measures may do well to get workers out of the office proper, with the 24/7 access many companies today demand, it may not address the main cultural factors driving a culture of overwork, though it is unknown whether anyone expected that in the first place. 

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