Why an Office Looks Like This in China

Companies are trying to reduce workplace stress with monthly mask day
By Brownie Marie,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2015 10:23 AM CDT
Staff wearing masks during a work day at a property service company specializing in leased office space in Handan in northern China's Hebei province Tuesday, July 14, 2015.   (Chinatopix Via AP)
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(Newser) – It may look like a scene from Office Space: the Horror Edition, but it's not. A company in Handan, China, has begun offering its employees "relaxation days" once a month. This includes a "faceless" day where masks are worn. It's a bid to cut down on workplace stress by, as the Christian Science Monitor puts it, letting workers "indulge in genuine though unseen facial expressions throughout the day." The Monitor suggests other companies in the area also take part. It also rounds up some figures that get to the heart of the issue: an estimated 600,000 Chinese people reportedly die each year due to work-related stress and exhaustion, it reports.

Further, the head of the International Labour Organization's China office notes that 60% of participants in a Beijing survey said they worked more than two hours of overtime a day (which is illegal). The AP, via Chinatopix, has photos of mask wearers taken on Tuesday. Some employees of the property service company wore Guy Fawkes masks; others donned the "No-Face" mask from the popular anime film Spirited Away. Even a security guard was photographed taking part.

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