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Culture Differences:”group harmony” or “work smarter not harder”

Culture Differences:”group harmony” or “work smarter not harder”

Oona McGee Soar Need 24


Two office skyscrapers look out over Shibuya together, but inside they’re worlds apart.


A lot has been written about Japanese working culture, where it’s standard practice to put in a lot of unpaid overtime, use your paid holidays on sick days, and only head off home after your boss has left the office.

This focus on prioritising group harmony over efficiency in Japanese workplaces is in stark contrast to the “work smarter not harder” mentality employed by many western companies, and to see it in practice, all you have to do is look up at Japan’s office skyscrapers at night.

That’s what Twitter user Yusaku Arai (@arai_yusaku) did one evening while out at Shibuya at around 6:00 p.m., and what he saw was pretty astonishing. He snapped a photo of the scene, which showed a building on the left where Japanese companies are located, and a building on the right, which houses a western company.

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Harvey Yan

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