29 Oct 2016

Work hard, smell bad, die young

From This Way Up, 12:35 pm on 29 October 2016

 A government survey in Japan has just found that 1 in 5 workers are at risk of dying from overwork.

Working yourself to death has a word in Japan: karōshi. And the problem is exacerbated by a working culture that promotes long working hours, and almost obligatory corporate bonding sessions after work. 

Now Tokyo's governor has vowed to change things by getting city workers out of the office by 8pm, an obligatory scheme that will be enforced by special 'overtime police'.


Karoshi Photo: (Pinterest)

She hopes this example will be picked up by the private sector.

Japanese workers have a culture of putting in very long hours, but with little evidence it benefits the nation.

While Japan's salary men are sitting at their desks long after the boss has gone, they're not shopping, going to restaurants or spending time with their wives - and Japan needs more children as it has a falling demographic.

And further research shows apart from working long hours, only half of Japanese workers took their annual leave.

Meanwhile it's been a long, hot summer in Japan and things have got decidedly whiffy in some Japanese workplaces. 

Personal hygiene is becoming an industrial issue, with Japanese employers being encouraged to take the problem of offensive odours at work more seriously.

The problem is mainly with older male workers and consultants are coming in to the workplace and giving seminars to men on how they can turn up at work after a long, stuffy commute smelling a little fresher.