Tokyo-based firm understands it can be hard for some people to speak up when they’re feeling run down.

Japanese companies are big on the concept of “communication.” All the meandering meetings, analog face-to-face interaction, and implicitly required after-work meals and drinks with coworkers are, ostensibly, so that everyone in the office will have a better understanding of what everyone else in the office has on their plate and how they’re coping with it.

There are, however, some potential problems with this model. Oftentimes the expectation is that if someone is indeed struggling with their assignments or projects, their coworkers will be able to pick up the fact through incidental chitchat. Unfortunately, since Japanese cultural values stress the importance of an individual meeting their responsibilities to the group, many people are uncomfortable openly and directly telling their coworkers that they’re having a hard time, and instead try to hide the fact that they’re running out of energy.

So to address this problem, Tokyo logistics and media company Onken has taken a cue from video game user interface design, and created employee badges with RPG-style hit point gauges on them.

▼ “Our company has introduced a visible HP system.”

Each employee gets three badges: a green bar indicating a completely full 10,000 HP, a yellow bar for 3,899 HP, and a critical-condition red bar for when they’re down to just 15 HP left. Workers are at their own discretion to wear whichever badge best matches their current condition, allowing them to clearly but unobtrusively let their coworkers know how much capacity they have for extra assignments, overtime work, and the like.

Onken says it understands that employees’ mental and physical conditions can fluctuate from both work-related and private-life factors, but that it’s not always easy to speak up when they’re feeling run down.

“So if someone is wearing a low-HP badge, do people try to treat them extra kindly?” asked one Twitter user, to which Onken replies “Yes, they do!”

Other online reactions have included:

“What a great idea. I want to work at this company!”
“The design is cute, and the concept is so sweet and considerate.”
“Everything is easier to understand when you’ve got a visual representation.”
“I’m usually pretty low on hit points on Mondays and Fridays.”
“I feel like my HP is always at critical.”
“I wish my company would adopt this system.”
“I totally want badges like these!”

Right now, it’s only Onken employees who have access to these badges, but after seeing the positive reaction they’ve been getting, the company says it plans to start selling them later this month.

Related: Onken
Source: Twitter/@onkenkenken (1, 2), IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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