The 4 Day Work Week - The Big Lie...
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Crazy Engagement Ideas - The Company Dorm...

Sure, your company wants engaged employees.  As a result, you're doing surveys, putting managers through training and maybe even letting employees chase some pet projects of their choosing on company time.

Have you bought a building and converted it into a dorm for your unmarried employees?  No?  Perhaps we should question your true commitment to employee engagement...

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Mitsui & Co., Japan's No. 2 trading firm by market capitalization after Mitsubishi Corp., hasJapanesefoodbento eight dorms -- six for men, two for women -- for about 430 unmarried hires in Tokyo. They can live there for their first several years at the company.  At Mitsui's dorm in Tokyo's Kasai neighborhood, five rules are plastered at the front entrance, including "No littering" and "Greet each other properly." The five-story gray apartment building comes to life in the early morning as the 60 men who live there head for the train to go to work and revives late at night as they come home.

For rent of less than $185 a month, the dorms offer a modest private bedroom, a large cafeteria and communal bathhouse -- a steal considering Tokyo's steep rents. Mitsui says it costs about $7 million a year to rent and operate the dorms.

Many big companies started offering corporate dormitories during Japan's rapid growth years in the 1950s and 1960s to provide single male employees financial support and foster a sense of community. Dorm life was one factor that helped build a corporate culture based on loyalty, dedication to hard work and identifying the company as family.

Company dorms... It just goes to show you how cultural norms can influence what we think is acceptable in the workplace.  When I think work-life balance, I don't think about riding the shuttle home with Chuck from Accounting, I think about getting away from Chuck for awhile, preferably to my "space is king' American version of home.

Still, it's good to see some Japanese companies trying to get back to their roots and develop the teamwork that comes with identifying your life/self with a single company.  I don't think that's coming back in the states.

Who's the Resident Assistant (RA) in that dorm in Japan? Has to be the youngest, single, exempt level HR professional.


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