A global banking firm has banned its employees from smoking during work hours – and in a bizarre twist of events, the new rule will also affect those working from home.

Nomura Holdings informed their staff in Japan about their new (questionable) policy on Tuesday, according to The Japan Times. They aim to create a favourable work environment, “in which everyone is healthy and can live energetically in order for employees to fully demonstrate their ability and character”, spokesman Yoshitaka Otsu told the news outlet.

The new guideline will come into force in October, though Otsu did confirm they don’t intend on monitoring staff, nor will there be any consequences if they break the policy. It’s simply based on mutual trust between the employee and the firm, Nomura said.

Smokers returning to the office are also strongly recommended by the company to stay away from their desk for 45 minutes following a cigarette to prevent “third-hand smoking”. Nomura also plans to shut down all their designated smoking rooms by the end of the year.

According to the National Cancer Center Japan, two in 10 smokers have increased their consumption due to remote working. With that in mind, Nomura plans to reduce the smoking rate among employees to 12 per cent, compared to 20 per cent in March 2020.

The firm is among several other Japanese companies to make a move towards a smoke-free environment. Snacks manufacturer, Calbee, prohibited smoking in 2018, while food producer, Ajinomoto Co, implemented a similar policy in 2019. SoftBank also took action against smoking last year to protect customers against secondhand smoking.

Indy100 has reached out to Nomura for comment.

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