Human Resources ARound the Globe

  • Fika in Sweden
  • Leaving Notice in Australia and Germany
  • Workweek in Israel
  • Disconnecting in France
  • Fitness in Japan

Human Resources is not one size fits all across the globe. Different countries vary widely in terms of the rules and regulations enforced in the workplace. These five countries offer something unique in terms of personnel, something other parts of the world might want to consider implementing with their employees.

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1. Fika in Sweden

On an average day in an American workplace, one sees a good deal of coffee and snacks. Workers mindlessly consume them in solitude in an effort to stay alert. Many even eat lunch at their desks. These practices leading to loneliness, stress, and gastrointestinal problems. Whereas many American workers receive a stern glare for stepping away for a coffee break, Swedish employees are encouraged to do so. The Swedes embrace a practice called Fika, which roughly translates to mid-day coffee break. Employers encourage everyone to partake in coffee or tea, a treat, and friendly conversation. They find this practice to promote workplace satisfaction and increased performance.

2. Leaving Notice in Australia and Germany

Australians and Germans are two among many countries in the world that enforce term contracts. This means that if an employee gives less than a set length of notice of leaving the job, without reason of necessity, there are financial repercussions. This practice promotes the values of commitment, life planning, reliability, and professional respect. The Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsmen provides an informational guide on how employment contracts work in their nation.

3. Workweek in Israel

The Israeli workweek runs from Sunday to Thursday instead of the customary Monday through Friday. The purpose of this is to allow employees to observe the Jewish holy day of Shabbat every Friday. With America being such a conglomeration of cultures, and the advance of technology bringing so many possibilities of a flexible work schedule, more companies should allow individuals to structure their work hours around important days for them. This makes employees feel valued as individuals, which promotes workplace satisfaction and productivity.

4. Disconnecting in France

The downside of the advance of technology is exactly the same as the upside. People can work anytime from anywhere, and many employers interpret this to mean they should work anytime from anywhere. While not all companies enforce responding to work emails outside of work hours, some suggest or encourage it. French employers found this led to overwork, so there is now a law in France stating that employees have the right to completely disconnect from work email outside of work hours.

5. Fitness in Japan

Japan has a reputation across the world for hard work. Long hours, long weeks, and intense regimen are commonplace among many Japanese employees. Japanese employers are on a recent mission to reintegrate wellbeing into the work mentality. Employers and teachers across Japan are infusing work and school days with a popular exercise regime called Radio Taiso, named so because it runs to the music of a popular Japanese radio station. Each set is only 15 minutes long, perfect for a break or to start the day.

When most people hear the phrase human resources they think of hiring, firing, and mundane personnel tasks. In many countries around the world, it also involves efforts to promote workplace satisfaction. These five practices across the globe are great examples of how to create a happy and healthy staff.