Author: Yukadon

[Blog] 5 Things to Facilitate Communication at the Workplace in Japan

Many Japanese people place importance on communication in the workplace. However, as Japanese people are generally modest, there are many people who are not good at communicating with others. Then, how can Japanese activate communication in their workplace?

So I’ll show you 5 things to facilitate communication at the workplace in Japan.

Morning Assembly

Do you have a morning assembly in your workplace? Although Japanese morning assembly had been avoided in a while because it was a bad habit of an old-fashioned Japanese company, it has been reviewed over the last few years. Why did the morning assembly revive? That is because it is the “place of the most functional communication”. Even at a company that I worked for before, I was chanting a company credo and singing a company song every morning. It can be said that it is a convenient way to start even immediately, in order to revitalize workplace communication.


One-day Trip and Event

There is also a way to activate communication at a place away from work in Japan. A typical example would be “drinking party” or employee trip. However, recently there are many young Japanese who dislikes association after 5pm; especially long employee trips are often avoided. So a day trip or a half day event is recommended.

For example, many Japanese company have some events that they can enjoy without having a drink, such as a cherry-blossom viewing, a fireworks festival, harvest experience of autumn leaves and agricultural products, a BBQ party, or a bowling competition. If this is the case, younger members should be easy to participate. Also, people who are not good at drinking may also be able to enjoy the BBQ party. The idea of Japanese companies is that communication will be revitalized by increasing participants as much as possible.

Luncheon Once a Week or Breakfast Meeting Once a Month

In order to revitalize communication in the workplace, many Japanese companies had frequent drinking sessions. It is the idea of improving communication between members by the so-called “nommunication” (drinking=”nomu” + communication). However, members of the young generation tend not to like “association” after work has ended. Also, the drinking party will definitely be a long time, and for those who cherish private time, it must be an unnecessary and useless time. Therefore, in recent Japanese companies, “luncheon” or “breakfast meeting” is actively adopted in order to facilitate communication. 

If this is the case, many members can join without even cutting private time, even those who do not like alcohol. Many companies tend to hold once a week if they are luncheons and about once a month for breakfast meeting.

Introduction of Thanks Cards

There are an increasing number of workplaces incorporating a system whereby employees send cards to each other, called “Thank You Card” or “Thanks Card”. This “Thank you card” is actually a tool that makes it easier for people to make relationships in the workplace and it can be mutually beneficial. This system was introduced even in a company that worked before.

I will explain how to do it.

Employees write feelings to thank workplace friends in cards prepared in the workplace and exchange them inside the company. How to hand out Thanks card varies from workplace to workplace. You can pass the Thanks card directly, or to a designate person at the workplace, or you put the card next to each name on a dedicated board. There is also a workplace where everyone sticks the Thanks cards to the wall in order, so that they can see the Thanks card, so that all employees can see what they were thanked for at what time.

By the way, in my previous workplace, all members put a Thanks card in a special box that is written each person’s name on. We closed the deadline at the end of the month and counted the number of Thanks cards we got individually, competing for who got the most.

I think that Thanks card is a system that can be incorporated easily in a Japanese company.

Introduction of Seat Change and Free Address System

  • Introduction of Seat Change:

Some enterprises have replaced the desk at once every six months as a guide.
Because they decide the seats by lottery, we have a kind of event nature and it seems to be quite enjoyable while feeling “bothersome”.

By switching “neighboring people” and “people in front and behind”, communication with more people can be achieved. Working efficiency improves because you get the habit of organizing your desk and change your mood.

  • Free Address System:

Some companies have introduced “free address system” by further promoting the idea of changing the seat. This is a new style of work that each employee does not have a fixed desk and works at vacant seats from time to time. Although it is still a minority, it is being introduced even by major companies such as UNIQLO. There are various methods, such as deciding the time and moving the seat, randomly reserving the seat with the computer.

In either case, as the seats are not fixed, it will obviously work with many members in the workplace next door and lead to vital communication. It can be said that the effect is overwhelming.

Importance of communication in the workplace

I will give some reasons to emphasize why communication is important at work in a Japanese company.

・ to share goals and policies
to check each other’s situation
for sharing accurate information
to know about each other working

Communication is very important because if the problem of communication at the workplace is improved, it will be used for work and it will be fun. In order to make communication at work more active, Japanese companies are doing various attempts. It may be different from how to communicate with in other countries.

Knowing the method introduced this time, will surely help you when working in a Japanese company.


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By Yukadon

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