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In the US, such measures may be a welcome relief for office workers, since many Americans don’t trust others to practice responsible social distancing. And…

Published
A tutor wearing a face mask sits in a cubicle decorated with images of brightly colored monkeys swinging from vines
Eloisa Lopez/REUTERS
When faced with drab office decor, bright colors and monkeys can help.
  • Office space

    Around the world, employers are sussing out the new specifics of office life, at least for the short term.

    🏢 In South Korea, coworkers are asked to sit two meters apart, avoid physical contact, and abstain from anything that causes people to spit, such as chanting. Employers should create a culture that minimizes extracurricular activities, and use video conferencing and phone calls as much as possible.

    🎢 At its offices in Seoul, Salesforce is adding plexiglass barriers between desks, providing PPE, and enforcing social distancing. CEO Marc Benioff said that when employees check in for work (yup, that’s a thing), they’ll be given a ticket to ride the elevator during a specific window of time, “much in the same way that you would arrive at Disney for a ride.”

    🤩 Coronavirus may kill the open office, as barriers between workstations—*cough cough* cubicles—are seeing renewed interest (Quartz member exclusive). Mary Jo Hatch, a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia who studied the symbolic associations employees make with their physical workspaces, said that if workers see cubicles as a protective measure, “it might have a positive effect on people’s feelings about their management and their work lives.”

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  • Gross National Cool

    In just a few decades, Japan’s global image has changed radically. Particularly in America, which has had a close and complex relationship with Japan since World War II, this image has evolved from fearsome enemy to producer of cheap cars to, finally, a whimsical creative fantasy factory. It took time and the right mix of conditions—economic, certainly, and perhaps social as well—to invent Japan’s global image, Marc Bain reports.

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  • Essential reading

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