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Harmful to everyone: the Japanese have infected the world with their overworking at work
24 September 2020, 11:26
Harmful to everyone: the Japanese have infected the world with their overworking at work
Reducing the length of the working day and working week leads to an increase in labor productivity.

Recently, social networks have been actively discussing a very important problem of the relationship between the employer and the employee - overtime. The reasons why an employee voluntarily overwork, thereby undermining his physical and mental health, may be different, but I think they are based on the fear of losing their job due to the fact that you do not show enough zeal in front of your employer... Here are some examples.

Recently, blogger Dmitry Shamov told in his publication that the case was widely discussed in Japan. A 23-year-old Japanese man working on a construction site for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo has committed suicide due to overtime. Overtime in December 2016 was 94 hours, in January 142 hours, and in February 196 hours. If you work seven days a week seven days a week, it turns out that a man is overworking 6.5 hours every day.

Further more! It turned out that the most common reason why the Japanese take their own lives is stress at work. Including due to chronic overwork.

Of course, this does not always lead to suicide, but much more often - to depression, stress, poor health, serious illness and sometimes death right at the workplace. In Japan, a special term has even appeared, meaning "death by processing" - Karoshi.

The blogger is sure that this phenomenon appeared due to the Japanese mentality: in Japan, a special attitude towards work, the team and their job responsibilities. For many, work is at the top of the list of priorities, which often causes the individual and his family to suffer. Teamwork is well developed in many firms, which is both a plus and a minus of the Japanese business model. Everyone clearly knows their responsibilities and everyone works for a common result. However, for this reason, the Japanese have no concept of "I", there is only "we". Even if it is necessary to skip work for some good reason or illness, the Japanese, for the most part, will not. Absence from the workplace can let the team down, because everyone considers themselves to be an important cog in a large machine. For the same reason, many do not take a well-deserved vacation, because they feel ashamed that they are resting while other people are working. All this leads to the fact that Japanese companies have an incredible amount of processing.

It is also interesting that the Japanese government is trying to take some steps and introduce new laws that should solve the problem. For example, so that employers do not pay for overtime, and then people will stop working overtime and will come home early. However, for the most part, the Japanese do not receive money for overtime anyway, and so the employer will have an official reason not to pay everyone at all...

According to the author, the main reason for the existence of karoshi lies in the very Japanese mentality. It is difficult for the Japanese to refuse someone, they are afraid to let someone down and think that everyone hopes for them, and without them everything will simply fall apart. In Japan, they think too much about work, forgetting about everything else. Life turns into work for work's sake...

However, analyst Alexander Rozov is not at all sure that karoshi is a purely Japanese problem:

“The Japanese are no longer the record holders for the length of the working week. In 2015, the average employee in Japan spent less time at work than his US counterpart. Not to mention Mexico, which holds the world palm in recycling, where workers generate as much as 2,246 hours a year. As you might expect, reports of karoshi cases outside of Japan are on the rise. In China, this misfortune, which they call the golos, annually takes the lives of 600 thousand people - about 1600 a day.

"A new generation of developing countries - India, South Korea, Taiwan, China - are doing the same: they are following in the footsteps of post-war Japan in the direction of increased hours of work", - said Richard Wokuch, professor of management at the Virginia Polytechnic University (USA) and author books on the problem of labor protection in Japan.

“Didn't we have this in the City of London (business district of the British capital - approx. Per.)? We just haven't come up with a name for this phenomenon yet”, - says Cooper.

He is right. In August 2013, 21-year-old Moritz Erhardt, a trainee at the major American investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was found dead in a shower after working 72 hours straight. The cause of death of the young man was an epileptic seizure, which could have been caused by hard work, as it turned out during the investigation. After that incident, the bank introduced a restriction on the length of the working day of interns - no more than 17 hours a day. Can the culture of sitting in the office be blamed for this problem? According to Cooper, you can. In many countries, the problem is not so much a culture of hard work as the need to demonstrate your hard work. “Today it’s more about showing everyone how much time we spend in the office — hence the early check-in and late check-out — but that doesn’t contribute to productivity”, - he says.

This is the most important conclusion. It's not that there is really a lot of work, or that it is really needed. The fact is that in the conditions of MOST UNNECESSARY WORK, a style of demonstrating one's burning at work has developed. And it comes down to suicidal artistry.

How unnecessary are overtime in the office - showed last year an experiment conducted in the Japanese (!) Branch of Microsoft.

As part of its Work-Life Choice Challenge 2019 project, for one month in August, the company introduced a four-day work week for its 2,300 employees. Friday was added to the standard weekend. Microsoft office workers only worked for four days, Monday through Thursday.

These "extended days off" did not in any way affect wages or vacation time. Employees simply cut their working days by 20%. The results were well above expectations. Microsoft's Japanese department presented them a few days ago, comparing them with data for August 2016, August 2017 and August 2018, when such experiments were not carried out (for some statistics, April-June 2019 was also taken into account).

For starters, the number of sick leaves has dropped sharply. Employees voluntarily took 25.4% less time off. 58.7% fewer pages of paper were printed. Electricity consumption in the office decreased by 23.1%. All this helped the company to save very well this month.

But most importantly, labor productivity increased by 39.9%. Although employees spent less time in the office, in fact, the amount of work they managed to do increased...