Why This Japanese Company is the Happiest
Free iPhones, four vacations per year of at least 10 days in a row, and the attitude that the employee, not the customer, is always right. Does that sound like your idea of work placeparadise? It is in Japan, where EC Studio is so popular they have to turn down university graduates who offer to work there for free.
According to Link and Motivation Inc.'s Employee Motivation Survey, EC Studio has been ranked No. 1 in Japan in employee happiness for the past two years. Perks, such as two paid vacations to your hometown if you live more than 140 kilometers away, contribute to that.
The company's purpose is to help businesses increase sales through their websites. Although EC Studio has only 33 employees and they can turn down any clients they don't feel are a good match, they manage more than 20,000 contracts.
Green as green can be, EC Studio is almost completely paperless and doesn't even use office software. No phone numbers are listed -- all client contact is carried out online, which is very rare for Japanese companies.
For video conferencing between their offices in Osaka and Tokyo, they mostly use the video chat function on the Playstation 3 -- much cheaper than other Japanese video conferencing systems made specifically for businesses. Skype's free services are also employed, in an effort to keep costs down and profits up.
Some employees are allowed to work from home, which is also unusual in Japan. Those who come to work enjoy bright, neat, clutter-free offices where soft music plays, and the company's Twitter feed will tell you what they are listening to at any given moment.
Employees say they are overwhelmingly happy and satisfied, and founder and CEO Toshiyuki Yamamoto hopes the attitude spreads across the nation. He told CNN "happiness is 'richness of heart' and consists of three pillars: wealth, time and harmonious relationships, and he's doing his best to reflect that in his corporate culture.
Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.