Shot "정장입고 출근하니 숨이 턱턱.." by pieliny, CC BY-ND 2.0 via flickr
Long hours, low work productivity?
Despite Korea having one of the highest figures for average hours worked annually, the country still has relatively low work productivity rates. While the government has restricted work time to a maximum of 52 hours a week, Korean employees continue to stay in the office far beyond this legal limit and as a result are failing to reach their full productive potential. Overtime and too few vacation days are two reasons cited on the Korean job review website Job Planet. Providing a platform for employees to anonymously review companies and their holiday and overtime policies, Job Planet has proven a popular forum for new recruits to assess the merits of applying for a particular job – or not. Whilst office policy goes some way to explaining low productivity levels, office politics take things further. Long-established cultural hierarchies mean younger and newer employees find it difficult, if not impossible, to say no to their superiors. After-hours dinners and after-dinner drinks, often several times a week, means employees’ lives become saturated by their colleagues and ultimately their work.