When Work Becomes Deadly

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Many of us feel overworked and overwhelmed on the job. However, sometimes this can be taken to the extreme. Today we’re going to discuss an issue from across the world- the phenomenon of Karoshi in Japan.

Karoshi– “overwork death” is an unfortunate trend of deaths in workers usually caused by malnutrition, stress, heart attack, and stroke. This trend has been observed since 1969, with the first death of a 29 year old man who worked at a newspaper company.

Last year, almost 2,000 Japanese committed suicide due to work reasons. This is an incredible high number for a preventable cause of death. Japanese government has made attempts to quell the problem, with proposals to cap overtime hours. However, it is too little to late for many workers and their families.

Japan is certainly not the only country to experience this tragedy. In China, it has been noted in China Youth Daily that 600,000 people die every year from overwork. That accounts to almost 1,600 per day.

This condition is known as guolaosi in China. Guolaosi is known as “death from overwork” in Mandarin. It can be partially attributed to the prevalence of mega-factories, producing global goods in cramped and polluted conditions.

Many believe that hard work is a virtue. But at what cost?

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Bloomberg News- China

CBS News – Karoshi Deaths

Productivity Apps

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What apps do you use for work? Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Slack? These are just some of the many apps on the market today that aim to help improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Recently we tried out a new app called Google Primer. It aims to help you with your business- questions from the first lesson include: “How can maintaining a good work-life balance help my business?” “What steps can I take to help me and my team maintain a healthy work-life balance?”

A series of short quizzes help cement the information the user learns within the app. While they don’t cite their sources, the lesson results convey a powerful message: “Studies show that using a smartphone for work after 9pm lowers sleep quantity and quality, which can lead to people feeling less refreshed in the morning and less engaged at work. Researchers have also found that people who spend time outside of work focusing on non-work skills and abilities are happier and less stressed.”

We reached out to local business owners to get their feedback on productivity apps, and had a chance to sit down with the owner of Fixed Computing. He uses Slack on a daily basis to coordinate and organize his operations in an effective manner. He told us: “Slack lets you integrate various apps within the service that promote productivity, like calendar integration, email integration, social media integration, etc.  It’s been a game-changer for us.”

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