Got stinky col­leagues? Ja­pan has a sem­i­nar for that

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

AF­TER a long, sweaty summer, some firms in the na­tion renowned for its clean­li­ness are declar­ing all-out war on an of­fice plague known as “smell ha­rass­ment”.

Telling a col­league they stink is touchy stuff, of course.

But per­sonal care prod­uct maker Man­dom says it has the an­swer for firms wor­ried about hurt­ing some­one’s feel­ings: “smell care” sem­i­nars.

Ja­panese me­dia have picked up the scent on this anti-odour bat­tle, re­port­ing that about 40 em­ploy­ees from mo­bile gi­ant SoftBank re­cently at­tended a ses­sion on what causes body odour and how to avoid it.

Smell ha­rass­ment joins a long list of other of­fice com­plaints in­clud­ing “al­co­hol ha­rass­ment” (forc­ing a col­league to drink) and karaoke ha­rass­ment (forc­ing some­one to sing against their will).

In re­sponse to the na­tional cri­sis, eye­wear chain Own­days has re­port­edly created a list of odour reg­u­la­tions for staff amid con­cerns that poor hy­giene could hit sales.

The cul­prits in­clude sweaty, chain-smok­ing salary­men, a col­league doused in per­fume, and that guy who ate too much breathde­stroy­ing gar­lic at lunch.

Man­dom in­sists the sem­i­nars can gen­tly teach of­fend­ers to change their ways, and cre­ate a more tol­er­ant of­fice.

“Bet­ter un­der­stand­ing the mech­a­nism be­hind and na­ture of those smells should lead to in­creased tol­er­ance,” said Man­dom’s Miyuu Sato, op­ti­misti­cally.

In­ten­sive re­search found a whop­ping 90 per­cent of Ja­panese men emit odours no­tice­able to others nearby, Sato said.

But the anti-odour firm is also clear on where to draw the line: Bul­ly­ing smelly col­leagues into a shower is not the an­swer.

“Bod­ily smells are not al­ways a bad thing and they don’t al­ways bother peo­ple,” Sato said.

“Odours are a per­son’s unique char­ac­ter­is­tic.”

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