We have all felt that moment during the work day at some point in our professional careers where we absolutely have to pull deep from within to keep our eyes open; we have all been so sleepy that it hurts. A variety of life events can be the reason for such daze including an all-nighter with a new born, staying up to watch the last inning, or perhaps just being under the weather.
Reasonable solutions to this sleepy state include pulling ourselves from our computer screens, getting up for a cup of coffee, splashing cold water on our faces, getting fresh air into our lungs, starting a conversation with a co-worker or even beginning a conversation with one’s self! It definitely helps to reset our thoughts and refresh our bodies so that we can power through the rest of the work day. After all, talking to your self is better than doing a keyboard face plant and being caught sleeping on the job in the middle of the day oftentimes doesn’t go over well.
Right now, as we speak, a slumber party of sorts is occurring at one of the nation’s leading international gateways: JFK International Airport. Even after the Port Authority authorized a healthy injection of hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime, security guards have been photographed sleeping on the job at their posts! With security being tight all over the US after recent terror attacks in Boston, this is a very hard blow to the famed airport and its image.
But 6,742 miles away, in Japan, this type of behavior is not deemed as embarrassing but rather encouraged and accepted.
The overall Global Technology Index (using measures in economic output, scientific /engineering research and innovations per capita) provided a broad assessment of the technological and innovative capabilities of the world’s leading nations and found that Japan came in second. Finland was first and the United States came in at third.
It is quite comical then that the second most advanced country in the world would not only regard their employees who sleep at their desks as “hard workers” but would have sleeping capsules for nighttime workaholics and even encourage and look up to those who sleep at their posts! In fact, sleeping on the job in Japan is so common they have coined the term “Inemuri” and instead of saying goodbye to coworkers at the end of the day they say “otsukaresama deshita” which means “you are tired sir”; it is perhaps the nicest thing you can say to a co-worker. Tiredness, in Japan, is respected. Tiredness, in the US, is seen as a syndrome.
As you read these stats, think about how your brand is portrayed not only on domestic soil but abroad where things might be a bit different than what we are used to. It might behoove you to re-think your short term and long-term brand strategy and to consider the future generation impact and multi-cultural affects of your messages.
As for me, I’ll keep sipping on my second cup of coffee and chuckle at the thought of a Japanese executive snoring away in their sleeping capsule right at this very moment.