Government workers in South Korea told to go home

People say a lot of things about the government and very little of it is flattering. For many of those people they believe that the only thing the government is good at is spending money and squeezing the tax base for more. Of course it is not just the Federal government that is guilty of this, state and local governments all across the land are guilty of it, just look at the list of state employees here in Pennsylvania pulling in six figure incomes.

Few of these jobs start at six figure salaries. What puts many of these over that threshold is overtime. OT can be a killer and while many employees are willing to work the extra hours not every government entity is willing to pay it. In South Korea the Seoul Metropolitan Government is taking an unusual step to curb their overtime spending.

Go home already!

Government workers in South Korea work over 1,000 hours more than the average government worker in other developed nations. That’s a lot of OT to pay. So a program has been implemented that should put a stop to OT. At 7 PM on Fridays the computers in the offices will be shut off which will force the employees to go home. Of course shutting off the computers from Friday night to Monday morning will also save on power usage as well, potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of the payroll savings.

Obviously not all government employees will be affected as the police and emergency services will need to still conduct normal operations. The announcement has also not gone over well with the public servants. The government has allowed employees to ask for exemptions but the case for working OT must be strong. So far nearly ⅔ of affected employees have requested exemptions but few have been granted.

This is also not the first time that such a thing has been attempted in South Korea. A government mandate prohibited the playing of video games between midnight and 6 AM though this restriction has since been eased over the past few years. They may need to find the balance between efficiency and cost savings so it is more than likely that the program is going to be amended in the future but the message is clear, go home.

There are benefits to unplugging

Of course there are benefits from getting away from work. Being a workaholic leaves little room for socialization outside of work reducing the ability to blow off steam so to speak. Some people certainly may view going to work as their best way to get away from the people that they love. Studies have also shown that technology can reduce memory and by using it too much it can affect mental capacity and the ability to get a good night’s sleep. With people becoming more and more connected to their devices this is only going to get worse.

Working at a computer terminal has negative health effects. Staring at a computer screen for hours at a time can will cause issues with the eyes like computer vision syndrome. Smaller issues like strains or mild pain can affect anyone, adult or child alike. Of course sitting at a computer desk for hours does not help your health either and the more you work the less chance you will have for exercise.

It is hard to “cut the cord” even for an hour. The developed world has become so dependent on technology that the days of simply going outside to play seem to be just about gone. Turning off a device does not even work, it’s like stopping smoking cold turkey. Being linked 24/7 is not a positive in the view of many people and experts and tech leaders alike recommend taking a break. Go out and smell the flowers, take a walk and get some exercise or just sit and watch the sunset. It’s free and chances are that email or text message can wait.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top