Japan Companies Experiment With Different Work Models

Japan different work models
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

As the number of instances of COVID-19 infections declines, more organisations in Japan are experiencing an increase in the number of employees reporting to work.

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, Honda Motor Co. implemented full-scale remote work at its headquarters and other offices, allowing staff to work without having to come into the office for a month. However, according to the person in charge, “Due to increased moves within the company, such as the alliance with Sony Group Corp., we felt the limitations of communication through teleworking.” Then in May, the company switched back to the in-office work style.

In the past, the Keidanren rules explicitly stated that “various forms of work, such as teleworking, should be considered” when it came to commuting. In light of such corporate initiatives, the revised rules incorporated the language “during periods of infection spreads,” thereby sanctioning the norm of continuing to work at the office as before the outbreak.

Despite this, many businesses continue to look for different work patterns in preparation for “post-pandemic” living. Fujitsu Ltd. modified its working style dramatically roughly two years ago. The corporation has increased the number of satellite offices it operates and removed limits on working hours and locations. As a consequence, office space was 20% smaller at the end of March 2022 than it was at the end of March 2020, and it will continue to shrink to improve efficiency and mobility.

At the earliest, Hitachi Ltd. will abolish the minimum daily work hours for about 15,000 workers by the end of fiscal 2022. The corporation intends to implement a structure that promotes employee autonomy while still allowing for a four-day workweek. A basic policy was reached during this year’s spring negotiations between the company’s labour union and management, which stated that “the work style in Japan will not be switched back (to the way it was before the pandemic),” and that the company will continue to use a flexible work style that combines working from home and coming to the office.

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