12 January 2009

How To Fight Karōshi

'Saw this in the news today. The Japanese are workaholics. No surprise there, really. To become the world's second largest economy, a country's citizens must work hard.

According to Wikipedia, the major causes of Karōshi deaths are heart attacks and stroke.
It was recognized that employees cannot work for twelve or more hours a day, six or seven days a week, year after year, without suffering physically as well as mentally. A recent measurement found that a Japanese worker has approximately two hours overtime a day on average. In almost all cases, the overtime is unpaid. ~ Wikipedia, on Karōshi

The AFP news item also said that more than 2,000 Japanese committed suicide due to work conditions in 2007.

This is alarming. All work and no pay, errr, play, makes the whole thing tragic.

The Japanese, I think, should learn something from the work habits of neighboring Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

In Bangkok, they have daily nap times:

In Hong Kong, they have these futuristic-looking sleep pods:

And in my dear home, the Philippines, we have a passion for taking long vacations, and the government sanctions it. In fact, for this year, most Filipino workers are already looking forward to 10 long weekends:

So, while the Philippines is not considered among the world's economic giants, only a few of its workers suffer from heart attacks and stroke due to too much work.

Moderation should always be practiced. Work hard, yes. But play hard and sleep well too. Our bodies and mind need frequent recharging.

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