Updated on August 29, 2019
Sony engages in health and productivity management to provide its employees with dynamic and appealing work environments. Sony is committed to building the kind of environment that enables every employee to work with a sound body and mind far into the future.
Measures to prevent lifestyle diseases, limit excessive overtime, and promote mental health have become more important than ever in recent years as industrial structures evolve and work grows more complex. These efforts have come to include an increasingly diverse array of tasks. Sony seeks in many different ways to preserve and promote employee health in Japan and around the world in a manner that suits the conditions of each site and complies with the laws and regulations in each country. Employees who work overtime, or work while receiving medical treatment, receive counseling from an occupational health physician and an occupational health nurse. Each employee receives attentive care tailored to his or her individual condition. Employees and frontline managers receive training on mental health issues to encourage early detection and prevention. Sony has also established physical and mental health counseling services for employees so that they can discuss any type of concern or problem, including work-related issues. In addition, Sony is also making an effort to counsel employees about lifestyle improvements, and to distribute information to raise awareness via various in-house media.
Sony implements comprehensive mental health support measures with the aim of helping employees demonstrate their full potential.
Sony has established health counseling services, offering access to counseling not only in face-to-face sessions, but also by telephone or email. The services, in addition to offering health consultations for employees themselves, also include handling proactive inquiries from managers, giving referrals to medical specialists, and providing related information when needed.
When an employee returns to work after taking leave due to a mental health issue, Sony’s employee assistance program assists the employee with readapting to the workplace according to their individual circumstances, working in cooperation with an outside professional institution.
Sony provides a mental health self-care training program for various levels of employees and management, including new employees and newly promoted senior managers. Sony also performs annual stress checks and conducts individual interviews with employees who are found to be under high stress. In addition, Sony analyzes group statistics on each workplace organization. These approaches help to improve the work environment.
Sony also has a critical incident stress management program for helping employees and their colleagues cope with unforeseen situations.
For employees who receive treatment while continuing to work, Sony offers counseling sessions with occupational health physicians and occupational health nurses, who reduce such employees' health risks by devising job arrangements tailored to each individual situation. Also, to ensure that employees are able to choose flexibly among a diverse array of working styles, Sony's frontline managers, Human Resources Department, and Occupational Health Department work together to provide the most appropriate employment support. The company actively seeks to provide support that will enable employees to strike a proper balance between treatment and employment, and work with fulfillment and motivation.
The negative effects of working overtime are a hot topic in Japan these days, and the government is taking action to reduce overtime.
Accompanying the passage of Japan’s Act on the Arrangement of Related Acts to Promote Work Style Reform in June 2018, the Japanese Diet amended the Labor Standards Act and the Industrial Safety and Health Act in April 2019.
Against this backdrop, Sony has amended its overtime work agreement (the "36 Agreement") and taken steps to encourage employees to take their annual paid leave. The workstyle reform initiative also includes the continuation of existing measures, including the day for leaving work at the prescribed time and late-night work reduction (i.e. work performed after 22:00). In addition, Sony implements health consultations by occupational health physicians and occupational health nurses to address the health of employees who work long hours. Sony is comprehensively dedicated to promoting the health of its employees and preventing health problems.
Preventing lifestyle diseases caused by irregular eating habits, lack of exercise, and other factors is a major challenge for corporate employees.
Sony makes sure that employees undergo various types of medical checkups and then receive personal health advice based on the checkup results, as well as support for visiting medical institutions if needed. Sony also focuses on counseling and advice on dealing with metabolic syndrome, per Japan's system of Specific Health Checkups and Specific Health Guidance.
Sony actively encourages employees to quit smoking, and works to ensure that non-smokers can work free of second-hand smoke. Sony has discontinued the sale of cigarettes (including heat-not-burn tobacco products) within the company, and has been reducing the number of indoor smoking rooms in order to prevent second-hand smoke. For individual smokers, Sony follows up on medical checkups by providing counseling and health guidance. Occupational health physicians and occupational health nurses take advantage of such occasions to encourage employees to kick the habit, and they provide concrete assistance to help employees stop smoking. Moreover, each business site uses its Occupational Health and Safety Committee, its website, and in-house mailing lists to encourage employees to quit smoking, and to provide information regarding the prevention of second-hand smoke. These efforts are gradually reducing the percentage of Sony employees who smoke, which is now below 11%.
With today's increasing globalization of business, the risk of infectious diseases spreading worldwide is on the increase. To protect employees from these threats, Sony arranges for its employees to receive necessary vaccinations if they work in or travel on business to countries at risk. Sony provides safety bulletins and information on infectious diseases on its intranet for employees taking business trips to keep them aware of risks, and limits business travel as a safety precaution depending on the circumstances. For employees posted outside Japan, and their accompanying family members, Sony provides information on the incidence of malaria, hepatitis, HIV, and other infectious diseases in the countries where they are posted.
In Japan, if there is an outbreak of a new strain of influenza, tuberculosis, rubella, measles, or other illness, Sony cooperates with the government and other entities as necessary in order to respond flexibly while staying ready to implement business continuity plans.
At present, Sony employees and their family members from Japan are stationed in 35 countries worldwide. This is why Sony has established a health management system that ensures that staff transferred overseas or traveling on business can work in safety and good health when they change workplaces.
Under the system, these employees and their family members receive medical checkups before leaving Japan, after returning to Japan, and when visiting Japan each year. Sony has set specific items for health checkups for staff transferred overseas, which are more thorough and comprehensive than legally mandated standards. In addition to regularly available support of health maintenance, employees receive healthcare education before traveling overseas, get vaccinations, and are provided with information on medical facilities in the areas where they will work, and receive stress checks. Also, occupational health physicians make the rounds at Sony's overseas business units and local medical institutions to practice preventive medicine and deal with risks. These measures are intended to encourage employees to be aware of the need for self-directed effort in their own health management.
To ensure that these support activities proceed smoothly, Sony's Occupational Health Department regularly disseminates health management information to employees who work outside Japan in order to help them maintain close ties with the department.