Eight things people realized were pointless about Japanese work culture during 2020

The coronavirus has disrupted everyone’s lifestyle, but it’s disrupted some of the bad parts too.

As the new year starts, a lot of people in Japan are hoping that it’ll be more like one of the old ones. Not 2020, of course, but one of those nice, pre-pandemic years.

Getting back to the old normal isn’t as quick and easy as turning the page on a calendar, though, and right now the coronavirus is still very much affecting daily life. But it’s important to take the good with the bad, so a recent survey by Japanese Internet portal Biglobe asked Japanese workers, many of whom have transitioned to telecommuting, what they don’t miss about their old workdays.

Specifically, the survey asked “During 2020, what did you come to feel was a pointless waste of time and energy about your old workstyle?” Responses were collected from 1,000 people aged 20 to 69 (with multiple responses), and here are the top results.

8. Chitchatting with coworkers (chosen by 7.4 percent of respondents)

Sure, a little office banter is nice. But if you have a coworker who’s constantly yammering on and on and on about their pet snake, lousy ex, or new workout routine? Then silence is golden.

▼ “…yes, thank you for the ticket to the ‘gun show.’ It was mildly impressive. Now please let me get back to work.”

7. Visiting clients’ offices (13 percent)
6. Business trips (14 percent)
5. My office (14.2 percent)

Negotiations are a necessary part of doing business. But why bother spending an hour going across town when you can handle everything with a 15-minute phone call or video chat?

▼ It’s not like shaking hands is part of Japanese business culture.

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