Nomura Holdings Inc. has told its staff in Japan not to smoke during working hours, even if they work from home.
The nation’s largest brokerage has sent a note to employees outlining the new policy that will take effect in October, spokesman Yoshitaka Otsu said by phone. The company will close all smokehouses managed by the Nomura group by the end of December.
The rules will be based on mutual trust and will not include a punitive clause, Otsu said. The company does not plan to monitor whether employees working remotely follow the guidelines. Nomura is introducing measures to create a supportive work environment, prevent passive smoking and promote employee health, he said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
“There has to be an environment in which everyone is healthy and can live vividly so that employees can fully demonstrate their abilities, their characters,” he said.
Smoke at home
Nomura is the latest Japanese company to take action against smoking as the health risks associated with cigarettes gain more and more attention. About two in ten smokers said their cigarette consumption increased because of work or staying home during the pandemic, according to a March poll from the National Cancer Center Japan. This is partly because there are no restrictions on smoking in the home.
Nomura seeks to reduce the smoking rate among its employees in Japan to 12% by 2025, from 20% in March 2020, according to its website. The brokerage has been providing financial assistance to help workers quit smoking since 2017, Otsu said.
The brokerage’s latest policy also strongly recommends that people stay away from its offices for 45 minutes after smoking at lunchtime or during breaks to avoid “secondhand smoking,” Otsu said.
Elsewhere, snack maker Calbee Inc. in 2018 banned smoking during working hours because the health of its employees and their families was “essential” to the growth of a business, according to spokesperson Marina Fukaya.
Food producer Ajinomoto Co. instituted a no-smoking on-the-job policy in 2019, which applies to staff working remotely, a spokesperson said. Still, he acknowledged that the company lacks the ability to monitor or control employees who work from home.
The telecommunications unit of SoftBank Group Corp. introduced a similar rule in April last year to ensure the health of employees and protect customers from secondhand smoke, according to spokesperson Rika Takahashi.
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