AEE 1216: How Does Culture Influence Work Ethic?

Do you have a fear of leaving work early?

Do you ever look around you at what is happening in terms of your work culture?

We’re going to look at what it is like in the US work culture vs. that in Japan to see what sort of similarities and differences exist.

This can be very eye opening to understand what is happening to the average worker.

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Looking At A Work Culture

We recently read a great article about Japanese culture and working in it.

There is a show called “I Will Not Work Overtime–Period!”

In Japan, It’s a Riveting TV Plot: Can a Worker Go Home on Time? By Ben Dooley and Eimi Yamamitsu and published on June 18, 2019

The article talks about this show and how it is a commentary on the work culture within Japan.

It goes on to discuss how people work so hard in Japan that they end up getting sick.

In the Japanese work culture, people don’t take much time off at all.

This is part of their work ethic, and a quote that really stood out to demonstrate this is:

“The idea that work requires personal sacrifice is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and has exacerbated many of the country’s other social issues.”

Times Are Changing

Hearing how it is within the Japanese work culture can be quite overwhelming.

The good news is that the government is stepping in to help.

Overtime work is now capped at 45 hours a month, and at 360 a year.

There are also premium Fridays, where workers can leave a bit early on the last Friday of the month.

On the show, characters are told they can leave work but it is too hard for them to actually do it.

It’s often about perception in the workplace in Japan. Workers feel it’s important to just stay seated at their desk regardless of productivity.

It is ingrained into the workers heads that you have to show your face and be present at work, and that other commitments are a second priority.

Compare and Contrast

So this brings you to the question of wondering how does this compare to the US?

In some cases there may be similarities, but perhaps not to the extent that it is in Japan.

You may not have to work as many hours, or you may have the opportunity to work at home sometimes in the US.

You may still have a lot of work to do, but you may find more flexible work arrangements in the US than in Japan.

Some companies may offer quite a bit of vacation time, but depending on the culture, some people may not feel right taking it.

Though there are some similarities, there are certainly some differences too.

The US may overall have a bit more relaxed of a workplace culture than in someplace like Japan.

Evaluating The Cultural Differences

To take a closer look we compared what it’s like in the US versus a place like Japan.We looked at a Forbes article “10 Shocking Workplace Stats You Need To Know”– David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom March 8, 2018

In the article it said in 2017 people gave up half of their paid vacation days.

Almost 10 percent took NO vacation days at all, which is staggering.

A Glassdoor poll that Forbes discussed said the top reason people didn’t take vacation days was because of “fear of falling behind.”

So though the US may be a bit more flexible than Japan, it looks like we have some challenging parts of the work culture as well.

There are definitely some similarities that show that the average worker feels that they need to always keep up with work and push harder.

There’s a fine balance to being a productive and respected worker, and working so hard that you make yourself sick.

Takeaway

This is SO different across cultures, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

Should things change at all?

What will happen in the future?

It’s time to start the conversation, and you can be a part of that. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

This is an area where you see cultural differences come into play, and they can be quite important to understand.

If you have any questions, please put them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


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