A Drone That Plays Music to Keep Employees from Staying Late at Work

Source: Taisei

By: Marie Donlon

In an effort to avoid the endless work hours often linked to employee burnout and exhaustion, a Japanese firm is enlisting the help of a drone that plays loud music meant to notify employees that it is time to go home.

As soon as the end of a workday occurs, the drone will fly through the office playing the song Auld Lang Syne above the heads of office workers staying after hours. Additionally, the drone will record footage of those staying late.

Although a seemingly unusual choice as far as songs go, Auld Lang Syne was not selected at random. The popular tune, usually played around New Year’s, is also commonly used in Japanese malls to signal shoppers that stores are preparing to close up for the day.

Developed by Taisei and telecom company NTT, makers of the drone believe it is effective in getting workers to stop for the day.

“You can’t really work when you think ‘it’s coming over any time now,’” said Taisei director Norihiro Kato.

Yet some detractors believe that workers will find other ways of extending their workday.

"Even if this robotic harassment gets workers to leave the office, they will take work home with them if they have unfinished assignments,” said Scott North, professor of sociology at Osaka University.

At a subscription rate of $450 (¥50,000) a month, the system is expected to begin a trial run in April 2018.

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