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The workplace in Japan these days is a little strange. Somewhere, something may be out of place-I think there are many active business people who feel that way. Although the promotion of women's advancement and work style reform are being screamed loudly, there is a sense of helplessness that nothing has changed in essence and that nothing will change in the future.

The author calls these Japanese workplaces "unfortunate workplaces." He points out that the main cause is the management layer, who is dyed by the values ​​of corporate society, unknowingly avoids changes, and clings to vested interests.

In addition, the author argues that the workplace originally has various merits such as opportunities for each person to demonstrate their autonomy and abilities, the joy of discretion, contact with others, time allocation of the day, and stability of life. It should be. It is said that the positive effects of such work will rejuvenate the mind and give people the power to live. In a disappointing workplace, these effects aren't working.

Based on the abundant evidence obtained from domestic and foreign papers and the fieldwork of interviewing more than 600 business people, the author discusses "unfortunate workplaces" from various perspectives. Working is more than just providing a labor force, it is also a matter of personal life. I would like to recommend that you look back on each person's way of working while reading this book.

The main points of this book

The point
The Japanese ranked first among the 24 developed countries in the three fields of "reading comprehension," "numerical thinking," and "problem-solving ability using IT." Nevertheless, Japan's hourly labor productivity ranks 20th out of 35 OECD countries, the lowest among the seven major developed countries.
The point
In addition to the economic benefits of working, there are other so-called “potential effects”. This includes, for example, opportunities for autonomy and performance, discretion, contact with others, respect for others, physical and mental activity, time allocation of the day, and stability of life. Potential effects rejuvenate people's minds and give them the power to live.

wrap up

Japanese labor productivity and ability
Low labor productivity

In Japan, long working hours have become the norm, and even the term company slave is used. Nevertheless, productivity is at the lowest level in the world.

Japan's hourly labor productivity ranks 20th out of 35 OECD member countries and the lowest among the seven major developed countries. In 1990, it was close to three-quarters of the United States, but in 2000 it dropped to around 70%, and from the beginning of 2010 it was about two-thirds, widening the gap with the United States. It's just.

High potential

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From 2011 to 2012, the "OECD Program for the International Assessment of Adult Ability" was conducted in 24 developed countries and regions. The survey items are "reading comprehension," "numerical thinking," and "problem-solving ability using IT" as "general-purpose skills required in work and daily life." As a result, Japan won the top spot in all three fields. It was also clarified that the characteristic of Japanese people is that there is little disparity in ability depending on occupation and rank. In short, invest in education and increase productivity per worker. However, according to a survey of workers in 33 countries and regions around the world, Japan has the lowest percentage of employees who receive training to bear the costs. It was also found that in Japan, there is a large gender gap in support from the workplace.

How men and women work
Stress at home and stress at work

In 2014, a research team at Pennsylvania State University published findings on family and work. This is a survey that requires subjects to record four items six times a day. The four items are (1) location (work or home), (2) mood (whether happy), (3) stress, and (4) cortisol levels. Cortisol is secreted when stress is felt, and the subject measured its value by scraping his cheeks.

As a result, they found that they were less stressed at work than at home, regardless of gender, unmarried / married, or having children. It was interpreted that this might be because work at work is paid, while work at home is boring and not very rewarding. Furthermore, with regard to women, it is speculated that by taking on a lot of housework and childcare, there is a lot of stress at home and people at work can feel relieved.

Japan's gender gap problem

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Every year, the World Economic Forum publishes the "Gender Gap Index," which shows the degree of gender equality in countries around the world. According to the announcement in 2017, Japan dropped from 111th place in the previous year to 114th place out of 144 countries.

This index is analyzed in four areas: "participation and opportunity in economic activity," "education achievement," "health and survival," and "political participation." Japan ranks 1st in "health and survival" and 74th in "education achievement", but 123rd in "political participation" and 114th in "participation and opportunity in economic activity". There is. Japan operates in a male society.

Many men make negative comments when such rankings are reported. Many of these people overreact to the word "male and female" and reject it because they feel "unjustly blamed". Therefore, if you look at it from the perspective of "labor" rather than from the perspective of men and women, you can see the amazing facts.

"Market labor" and "care labor"

"Labor" generally refers to paid labor. However, labor that grows the country, supports society, and protects people can be divided into "market labor" and "care labor." Market labor is "paid labor" as a labor force that is bought and sold as a commodity. On the other hand, care work means "unpaid work" such as housework, childcare, long-term care, and volunteer work.

We work in the market to earn living money. And because we need to prepare meals, clean up, and take care of children and the elderly in order to survive, we do care work. Both are labors necessary to survive, regardless of gender.

According to a study by Swedish social policy scholar Dr. Sainsbury, there is a correlation between this assessment of care work and the gender gap. For example, the gender gap is small in countries that value care and market labor equally, such as the Nordic countries. On the other hand, in countries such as Japan and South Korea that only evaluate market labor, the gender gap is large. Care labor is too neglected in Japan.

How Japanese people work
Sleeping time is short, meal time is long

According to a study by the University of Michigan, the average sleep time of Japanese people is 7 hours and 24 minutes, which is the shortest in the world. In Europe and the United States, it was mostly around 8 hours, and only Japan and Singapore took less than 7 and a half hours.

In addition, Japanese office workers are also characterized by long meal times. It ranks third after French and New Zealanders. It is speculated that this is because they are having a drinking party with colleagues and clients.

I'm bothered to lower labor productivity

BrianA Jackson / iStock / Thinkstock
In Japanese corporate society, it is vaguely believed as an urban legend that "bosses value more people who work overtime." In fact, in 2015, the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training investigated the relationship between the speed of promotion to the deputy section chief class and above and overtime, and the results affirmed it. This is because long working hours are imprinted with the value of diligence, and either the boss unknowingly evaluates people who work long hours, or the more people who can work, the more work they are entrusted with. Is the cause. These facts must be behind the low productivity of Japan.

There are many studies on working hours and productivity, but a Stanford University paper published in 2014 attracted attention. The study found that "working more than 50 hours a week reduces labor productivity, and working more than 63 hours rather reduces work outcomes."

"Presenteeism" is a term that is becoming more common in the United States. This refers to a state in which work performance and productivity are reduced due to going to work with some kind of illness or symptom. Lack of sleep is one of them. The loss from presenteeism is greater than sick leave and sick leave.

Despite their high abilities, the Japanese have taken the trouble to work in a way that reduces their productivity.

【必読ポイント!】 「残念な職場」を変えるために











仕事のリソースを手に入れることで、SOC(Sense of Coherence)が高まる。SOCとは、「人生にあまねく存在する困難や危機に対処し、人生を通じて元気でいられるように作用する人間のポジティブな心理的機能」のことである。