For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we work. After Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency, employers were asked to embrace flexibility and let their employees work from home. Between March and April, the number of people working remotely in Japan increased by 14.7 percent.
It’s a trend that could change Japan’s work culture for good. Companies are finally seeing that long work hours and open offices aren’t good for productivity. On the other, keeping your employees happy with a good work-life balance is a winning bet.
As long as they don’t own a house cat, that is.
Cats are jerks
We love them, but there’s denying that cats know exactly what buttons to push to get their way like knocking stuff off the table, scratching at the bedroom door, and sitting on our laptops. Our furry friends are calculating little monsters who enjoy driving us crazy.
With the number of people working from home increasing, cats now stand accused of yet another evil crime—harassing their owners who are desperately trying to focus on work.
The topic of “猫ハラ”, short for “猫ハラスメント“ (cat harassment), has been trending on Twitter these past weeks. Many remote workers are sharing the hardship of trying to work from home while their kitties fight against it. Knowing that there are nearly ten million house cats in Japan as of December 2019, the issue is quite serious!
Your computer is the perfect cat pillow
Cats are early birds and will make sure to cause trouble before your workday has even started yet.
— nyanco! with 保護猫 (@nyanco696) May 17, 2020
“It’s a sunny morning.
Nana is ready to start teleworking.”
Anyone who owns a cat knows that moving a nesting cat will result in a bloody hand.
Your printer is also the perfect cat pillow
— ベルたん日和🔆 (@belltan415) May 20, 2020
“It seems like a lot of cats like computers, but for some reason, instead of my computer, Berutan is passionately fighting with my printer. Please stop!”
Even your notebook
Workers aren’t the only victims of excessive attention-seeking cats.
— カリン (@920_fam) May 20, 2020
“Today, too, the cat disturbed my daughter. I had not witnessed it, but it seems like the cat is disturbing her every day.”
“My cat prevented me from studying” is the new “my dog ate my homework.”
The box on the desk strategy
The good news is cat harassment is not inevitable! A very simple trick can help you get your work done while keeping your kitty purring with happiness (and, more importantly, not walking on your keyboard).
What do cats love the most? A good old’ box to sit in. Preferably small, comfy, and recycled from a delivery package for our environmentally-conscious kitty.
— DJ KOMORI / オンラインDJスクールMIXFUN! (@djkomori) May 12, 2020
“If you’re having trouble working from home because your cat disrupts you, you can solve the issue by placing a big box on your desk.”
While @djkomori received hundreds of replies from happy cat owners now able to work in peace, the box trick isn’t 100% full proof. Never underestimate cats’ selfishness to do whatever they want, which is usually the exact opposite of what you’d like them to do.
— こまちゃん (@mugimarukuru) May 15, 2020
“I heard that placing a box works well against cat harassment when working from home, but my cat came back on my knees.”
Are you more or less productive with a cat around? Let us know in the comments!
Talking about remote work in Japanese
Before the pandemic provoked a change in the way Japanese companies work, telework was inconceivable for a lot of employers. Only a handful of office workers were given the option to work from home regularly.
Because working remotely doesn’t necessarily equal “working from home,” knowing Japanese key expressions to talk about this topic will come in handy to convince your boss to keep remote work on the table after the state of emergency is lifted.
- テレワーク : this expression refers to any kind of work done outside of the office
- リモートワーク: while a synonym of テレワーク, this expression is more frequently used to describe the IT industry’s work style, where workplace and time aren’t as important
- 在宅勤務: work from home
- モバイルワーク: remote work from a cafe or a client’s office, or even on the train or plane
- サードプレイスオフィス勤務: remote work from a shared office
|猫ハラ, 猫ハラスメント||neko hara, neko harasumento||cat harassment|
|準備万端||junbi bantan||preparation complete|
|邪魔する||jyama suru||disturb, be in the way|
|何故か||naze ka||for some reason, somehow|
|闘志を燃やす||toushi o moyasu||fight with passion|
|やめてくれ||yamete kure||please stop!|
|困る||komaru||be troubled, bothered|
|収納ボックス||shyuunou bokkusu||storage box|
||zaitakukinmu||work from home|
|対策に||taisaku ni||measure against|
|モバイルワーク||mobairuwaaku||work from a remote place (that is not home and not a shared office)|
|サードプレイスオフィス勤務||saatobureisuofuisu kinmu||remote work from a shared office|