Recently, the debate of whether reducing the number of hours of work each week will lead to increase in productivity has been a hot topic. Of course, we all envy citizens of Guthenburg, Sweden for starting a six-hour work day experiment. You can read more about that here.
It turns out, that significant number of companies and/or cities have tried out the mandatory reduction of hours of work in order to improve quality of life and productivity. Some programs succeeded, and some did not. Number of hours is not the only factor when considering better quality of work and productivity. It depends highly on the type of job and timing. This story from BBC Capital is a thorough compilation of different experiments, and why some worked and some didn’t.
What do you think is the best work schedule for your position? How would you feel if your company cut hours without cutting your pay?
- Yumi Zaic
Happy Friday, where worldwide music and cultures meet!
Today we travel to Morocco, an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilization. Since we are feeling a little hungry, we invite you to learn some of Moroccan’s cuisine with us, long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of Morocco with the outside world. It is mainly a combination of Berber-Moorish, European, and Mediterranean cuisines. It is also influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they took refuge in Morocco after the Spanish Reconquista. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients such as saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred but is relatively expensive. Poultry is also very common, and the use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan food. Couscous is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla, tajine, and harira. A big part of the daily meal is bread. Bread in Morocco is principally from durum wheat semolina known as khobz.
The most popular drink is "atai", green tea with mint leaves and other ingredients. Tea occupies a very important place in the culture of Morocco and is considered an art form. It is served not only at mealtimes but all through the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests. It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse it.
After this mouthwatering experience, let's digest these amazing flavors with some relaxing music from Moroccan instrumentalist, singer, choreographer and film director, Nour Eddin playing at a live concert in Rome, Italy .
- Alba Serrano-Miro
Happy Music Friday!
Today we travel to Japan. Japan has a fascinating and multifaceted culture; on the one hand it is steeped in the deepest of traditions dating back thousands of years; on the other it is a society in a continual state of rapid flux, with continually shifting fads and fashions and technological development that constantly pushes back the boundaries of what is possible. It could therefore be said that Japan is a country of stark contradictions and contrasts which makes it so fascinating.
In interpersonal relationships, most Japanese tend to avoid open competition and confrontation. Working with others requires self-control, but it carries the rewards of pride in contributing to the group, emotional security, and social identity. Wa (和), the notion of harmony within a group, requires an attitude of cooperation and a recognition of social roles. If each individual in the group understands personal obligations and empathizes with the situations of others, then the group, as a whole, benefits. Decisions are often made only after consulting with everyone in the group. Participation in group activities, whether official or unofficial, is a symbolic statement that an individual wishes to be considered part of the group. Thus, after-work bar hopping provides not only instrumental opportunities for the exchange of information and release of social tensions but also opportunities to express non-verbally a desire for continued affiliation.
And now, an example of where old meets modern, a traditional Okinawan song, Asadoya Yunta, versioned by Ryuichi Sakamoto, considered to be one of Japan's most famous living composers. Enjoy the beautiful music, and a great weekend!
- Alba Serrano-Miro
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.