Corporate Housing

Business Superstitions from Around the World

April 12, 2018
April the 13th

It’s Friday the 13th, and we all know what that means! People all of sudden start acting a little extra superstitious; maybe they avoid planning big meetings that day or delay travel plans. In honour of the big day, we have compiled a list of some of the top business superstitions from around the globe.

Perhaps you’re not the kind of person to believe that placement of a day should affect how you do business. However, knowing these business superstitions and cultural beliefs can help you to avoid a major faux-pas at your next meeting. It will also show a kind of cultural awareness that will prove you came to your meeting prepared. Keep these business superstitions in the back of your mind when planning your next meetings.

Don’t Whistle in the Office

We’ve heard of no umbrellas inside, but no whistling? While this business superstition started life as a Russian-only belief with various meanings, it is now followed by many businesses throughout the world. In fact, it’s a widely supported rule by many people in business in the United States and Canada as well.

While whistling can show that someone is feeling jolly or in good spirits, it’s considered bad luck. In business terms, whistling indoors is supposedly related to “whistling your money away.” If you’re the superstitious type, or work around superstitious people, stop whistling in the office. You might be scaring all the money away.

Watch the Stock Market During an Eclipse

Business Superstitions: The stock market will drop during an eclipse

It sounds like one of the odder business superstitions, but be wary of your stocks during an eclipse. If an eclipse can be seen throughout the world at any one time, expect it to correlate with lower than average stock returns. Eclipses have long been considered a bad omen, but these effects seem to persist to modern times.

This could be the result of traders being pessimistic due to the superstition surrounding an eclipse, not necessarily the eclipse itself. Regardless, the numbers are there to prove the drop. A study published in Harvard Business Review showed that during 363 eclipses over an 80 year period, stock returns were lower than usual.

Millions of Dollars Lost on Friday 13th

You may not believe in these business superstitions or in the supernatural affecting your work. However, you might be surprised to see that there are real-world consequences of Friday the 13th. Revenues around the world consistently plummet on each Friday the 13th.

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina, close to $900 million in average revenue is lost on this day alone. There has not been a single proven cause of this loss, but there have been theories. Among the most popular is the idea that people refusing to travel, take business decisions, or make large transactions on this day causes this dip. Essentially, it is not Friday the 13th causing the chaos, but the belief in Friday the 13th.

Fidgeting Will Lose You Money

Still still; don't fidget

Fidgeting is not just a sign of nerves in Korean culture, it is considered bad luck. The next time you are dealing with your Korean business partners, make sure you don’t overdose on the coffee beforehand. Avoid shaking your legs, twiddling your thumbs, or tapping your fingers. And please, leave your fidget spinner at home.

First of all, it’s annoying for others in the room, regardless of business superstitions. Furthermore, according to Korean tradition, fidgeting is a sign that you are about to lose a significant amount of money.

Business superstitions and bad luck go hand in hand on Friday the 13th. However, that should not stop you from going about business as usual. You still have travel plans to make for your next trip, even if you aren’t flying out on this superstitious day. Why not take advantage of the expected lull and book your travel accommodations today? As the above examples show, the most tangible effects of Friday the 13th are caused by the belief, not the date.

Just in case though, don’t step on any pavement cracks or say hello to any black cats.

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