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4 minute read

Chinese New Year 2023: Which Day to Start Work, and What You Should Do On That Day

Some who celebrate the Chinese New Year also believe that the day they return to work after the holidays matter. Here’s some auspicious advice for the career minded.

Yes, it’s a “Chinese” thing to believe in auspicious dates, as Chinese who’ve either planned weddings or moved into new homes might be aware. Even if you’re not a fervent believer, there’ll be older relatives (Hi, Grandma!) who’ll nag at you about it to ensure you toe the line.

It’s also a fairly common practice for some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with pantang (i.e. superstitious) bosses to only start business or work after the Chinese New Year on an auspicious day (also known as kai gong). Even the day they stop work and take a break for the Chinese New Year matters as well (also known as shou gong).

Here’s a quick run-up below on what days you should stop and start work, according to popular fengshui sites online, as well as some of the observances to take note of if you’re keen to practice them!

Which day should one stop work and start work this Chinese New Year 2023?

According to one fengshui site, the date one downs tools is affected by your personal zodiac animal sign. And yes, this applies even if you’re working from home!

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If you are the boss/towkay/chief executive, the belief is that if you re-open doors and start work on an inauspicious day, you increase the chances of bad business for the rest of the year!

We can hear you tapping impatiently: which dates are auspicious this year? Well, this year’s Chinese New Year (which is the year of the Rabbit) starts on Sunday 22 January 2023 and lasts till 15 February 2023.

According to this site, the best dates and time to stop work in January 2023 would be

  • 18th (clashing zodiac: Horse)
  • 19th (clashing zodiac: Goat)
  • 20th (clashing zodiac: Monkey)

The best dates to start work again after the Lunar New Year celebrations would be:

  • 24th (clashing zodiac: Rat) at 11am
  • 27th (clashing zodiac: Rabbit) at 11am
  • 29th (clashing zodiac: Goat) at 9am

Wondering what the clashing zodiac above refers to? The advice from the wizened ones is that it’s best to pick a day that doesn’t conflict with your boss/towkay/chief executive. If there’s a conflict between the employee and the boss, the employee is supposed to delay their return to work by a day if possible.

For example, if your boss’s zodiac is Rat, and so is yours, he/she should pop back to the office on the 24th of January, while you should return on the 25th of January instead!

There’s also a warning from another fengshui site: Monday, the 23rd of January 2023, and Sunday, the 5th of February 2023, are blackout dates when it comes to work. This means that you’re advised to avoid all work activities on those dates (yes, this includes checking work emails, apparently)!

What to do when stopping work, and starting work during the Chinese New Year period?

Yes, there’s specific tasks to do for the above. Here’s what to do as part of the ritual to down tools:

  • Clean your work desk, by discarding unnecessary items, and wiping your desk clean. Please get rid of those pineapple tarts from LAST Chinese New Year.
  • Place an ang pao (red packet) in the drawer. You can choose any amount, it’s a symbol of good luck, and then keep it there till next year’s Chinese New Year as a sign of luck at the workplace.
  • Clear all outstanding debts. It’s time to pay that work colleague for the kopi he/she tapowed for you that you never quite got round to settling! Essentially, neither a borrower nor a lender be – clear out that ledger with everyone.

When it comes to starting work, there’s different to-do lists if you’re working from home or going back to the office.

If you’re working from home, do these in this order:

  1. Start at the auspicious date and time we mentioned earlier
  2. Dress up. Yes, even if you’re working from home.
  3. Clear your workspace of all the Chinese New Year goodies and ransacked angpows
  4. Have a coffee or tea with the Chinese New Year goodies (but remember, heaty, so not so many lah!)
  5. Make a work-related phone/Skype/Zoom/Teams call
  6. Send out a work proposal via email
  7. Make another work-related phone/Skype/Zoom/Teams call (just check if they got the email?)

And if you’re headed back into the office, do these in this order:

  1. Start at the auspicious date and time we mentioned earlier
  2. Put fresh plants or flowers on your desk, and a pair of oranges you brought from the house visiting stash
  3. Put on some background music
  4. Have a coffee or tea with Chinese New Year goodies
  5. Make a work-related phone/Skype/Zoom/Teams call
  6. Send out a work proposal via email
  7. Arrange a work lunch or meeting

And there you have it, everything to keep the bosses and Grandma happy! From the Workforce Singapore and Workipedia by MyCareersFuture team, here’s wishing all our readers a great and prosperous Chinese New Year ahead!

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