Missing the point this badly is enough to get any worker hot under the collar.

Considering the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak in Japan, it’d probably be going too far to call this a silver lining to the situation, but there’s a bit of a social phenomenon going on that maybe you could say is a bronze lining. With fears of infection spreading in crowded areas, Japanese companies have been implementing more telecommuting strategies for employees, and many that are still requiring workers come in to the office have been strictly capping overtime. Workers experiencing the flu-like symptoms associated with the virus are also being encouraged to err on the side of caution in staying home.

While the impetus for these changes is a sad one, it’s still nice to see companies in Japan willing to give workers greater flexibility, more reasonable workloads, and the ability to make their health a priority, all things that are often missing from workplace culture in the country. However, old habits die hard, as shown by this tweet from Japanese Twitter user @Haseyan_sys.


@Haseyan_sys, who works in an office in Fukushima Prefecture, recently came down with a fever. After checking his temperature and finding it to be 37.8 degree Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), he told his company’s general affairs division about his condition, and asked to be allowed to take the rest of the day off. So what was the response he got?

“You haven’t travelled overseas, and there haven’t been any confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Fukushima. As a result, even if you have a temperature of 37.8 degrees, the chance that you have the coronavirus is very low, so we ask you to work today.”

That would have been reassuring to hear…if @Haseyan_sys was worried about having the coronavirus. That wasn’t at all that he’d been talking about, though. “I was just saying ‘I’m sick, so let me take the rest of the day off.’ Do they have some sort of logic error in their brains?” he tweeted exasperatedly, and other comments shared his frustration, reacting with:

“So it sounds like there’s some other virus going around your office then. Take care.”
“I don’t think anyone with a temperature of 37.8 is going to get much work done even if they come to the office.”
“So they’re basically saying, ‘Don’t take time off if all you have is a fever?’”
“Companies not saying ‘If you feel sick, stay home’ is the sort of thing that turned the coronavirus outbreak into such a problem in the first place.”

Thankfully, not every company in Japan is so insensitive to the health of its workers, and a handful of commenters also chimed in to say that their workplaces have made it clear that employees should take time off regardless of their specific symptoms if they feel like they’re in poor health. And as for @Haseyan_sys, he decided to simply email his direct boss, section chief, and department head to tell them he’d decided to take the day off, not as any kind of coronavirus countermeasure, but just because he was sick.

Source: Twitter/@ Haseyan_sys via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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