Friday, December 9, 2011

Restroom Revelation Inspires Google Chief to Laud Korean Work Ethic

It seems that Google executives can find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. In Korea, the company's Executive Chairman - who was recently visiting this country to learn how Daum and Naver became the world's best search engines - found inspiration in a public restroom.

"Koreans are impressively productive" he told reporters. It is said that he reached his conclusion while washing his hands and noticing that the Korean men who had also just used the facilities didn't. A team of Google's top scientists immediately went to work on calculating how much additional productivity the company could benefit from if its 31,000 employees followed the Korean Restroom Wave.

The results were startling, suggesting that if an average employee visited the bathroom five times a day, but saved 30 seconds each time by not washing their hands, it could save the company a staggering 391,912 minutes per week in lost productivity – or 6,531 hours. This is the equivalent to three years of one worker's productive time, or a ninety-four years of the average manager.

It's long been known that riding the Korean Wave successfully involves not getting your hands wet, but placards can still be seen in many restrooms - especially within companies - to encourage productivity. One of the most popular - "A beautiful person leaves a beautiful environment behind" - is widely understood as an appeal not to spoil the pristine untouched nature of the sinks. If this fails to discourage would-be time-wasters, the faucets are limited to producing ice-cold water, ensuring that only people with the constitutions of Buddhist monks dare brave the freezing waters, a discriminatory system which works well since unlike everyone else in society, monks have no need to be productive or worry about saving time.

The Government is also keen to discourage citizens from washing their hands, fearing that if habits change it may subtly alter the unique taste of many Korean food dishes, which it is now trying to promote globally under the slogan "Come and get hansik".

Experts in the Korean Wave have suggested that Korean restroom culture could be the next stage in the global phenomenon, and The Ministry of Culture says it is considering launching a full Korean Restroom Tourism program after a limited trial last month was overwhelmed with applications from foreign men.

Related Links
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