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How the coronavirus is changing working styles in Japan

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The coronavirus pandemic has opened people's eyes in Japan to the possibility of new working styles where working from home, staggered work hours, and even four-day workweeks could become the norm.

Don't anyone hold his or her breath.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

I know several people who have been working from home, going to the office once a week to stamp papers and bow to their manager. They don't want to go back. But their managers are not getting their daily bow and want them to return? Holding your breath is as usless. Rather see these old style managers hold their breath as 2020 passes them by.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

"From now on, I would like to work from home 80 percent of the time"

Me too!

But for that you need a management in your japanese company who do not refuse to step into the 21th century.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Oyama starts work at home at 7 a.m. and works intensively until noon before spending the rest of the afternoon with her child. "After I got the hang of this, I was able to achieve the same results as when I was at work," she said.

And pray tell why didnt you get the hang of getting your work done by noon when you went to the office?

Right, you waited until 5PM to start, so you could collect the overtime money, and make it look like you were busy!

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

When companies start realizing that their staff have been getting the same work done in less time, dont be surprised when pay starts getting prorated to actual work being done, versus time spent doing it!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

There will be no more offices, we will get 10Gbps for 3880JPY and all live in 400m2 ocean view houses

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The last part of the article tells us what we know is coming after Coronavirus has gone away.

"One big obstacle for introducing such remote work reforms, argue some, is productivity -- which seems to fall when people are away from their office"

This is telling us it will be back to business as usual in Japan, as the Japanese people are too "inefficient" when working from home. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world productivity has been much higher, and some countries are seriously looking at revamping the entire working structure, including seriously considering introducing a four day working week.

The real reason things won't change here is that Japanese workers are controlled in every aspect of their lives and the powers that be want to keep it that way.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

And pray tell why didnt you get the hang of getting your work done by noon when you went to the office?

Right, you waited until 5PM to start, so you could collect the overtime money, and make it look like you were busy!

uhhh...maybe it's because she had more meetings before? and she also had to talk to more people who are in the office and deal with small matters that popped up. not everyone craves to work overtime so they can look good, especially those with very young children. geeze...smgdfh.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

She has frequent email and chat interactions online but says for her, "it is hard to have conversations that are about nothing online." -

Exactly right. All those daft company meetings we have which go on for ever and achieve nothing!

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Let's hope some of these changes stick!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The biggest thing I'm noticing is that people have no idea why they are wearing a mask.

People I had to speak to yesterday keep pulling the damn thing down when they speak.

LEAVE IT ON!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

going back to regular working ways since the lockdown was lifted in Aichi!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

uhhh...maybe it's because she had more meetings before? and she also had to talk to more people who are in the office and deal with small matters that popped up. not everyone craves to work overtime so they can look good, especially those with very young children. geeze...smgdfh.

Never worked in a Japanese company have you? No one "craves" overtime, but they all do it, for appearances and more importantly, at a company like NTT, the money!

Also its a part of the "group" mentality, cant leave work when everyone is still sitting at their desks, especially the boss!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Triumph

100% agree!

Every week, I have up to 20 meetings or more. But 90% of those meetings are compeletly meaningless! No conclusion, nothing! The only conclusion which is been made is to have another follow up meeting. Some of my coworkers are sleeping during these meetings.

90% of these meetings can be canceled, or at least you can do it from home via Telework.

But, the management wants me / us to attend the meeting personally.

For what reason I have to attend personally...I dont know.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I wish the government force all companies to take the style.

Because I can see the overcrowding trains recovering in Tokyo since the declaration of state of emergency was lifted.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The pandemic has taken a big bite out of corporate revenue and profits. Tele-working, reducing rent, utilities and business travel will probably be a part of corporate cost cutting strategy. To reduce labor cost, I wouldn't be surprised to see companies trying to implement some sort of system that can actually log the actual working time. Tele-workers beware, keep an eye on this, hourly wages could be on your horizon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Changed my lifestyle. Before I could scrape by. Now, my rent was increased by 20%, my business was closed for 2 months and I’ve only got 1 client. I will have to work from home if I can’t get more work.

No way ¥100000 can pay 2 months rent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Excellent article.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

5 hour workday? Yeah I can see why someone would want to continue that when they are paid a salary, not paid by the hour.

Oyama starts work at home at 7 a.m. and works intensively until noon before spending the rest of the afternoon with her child.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think a lot of Tokyo-based companies are realizing they can really cut their office costs in half by having at least 50% working at home every day. I know our office relocation is being re-planned right now.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Middle management might not like it, but senior management responsible for the bottom line is keen to keep more people at home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Regardless of the current virus crisis I've always called for reforms on working style in Japan. I'm hopeful that the crisis can also open the window of opportunity. Those who will survive and prosper are most adaptive to an emerging reality.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

For professionals and skilled labor, sure work practices will change for the better. For minimum wagers, language teachers, unskilled labor, nope there won't be any change for them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The coronavirus pandemic has opened people's eyes in Japan to the possibility of new working styles where working from home, staggered work hours, and even four-day workweeks could become the norm.

> Don't anyone hold his or her breath.

yup!

She has frequent email and chat interactions online but says for her, "it is hard to have conversations that are about nothing online."

Wait!! WHAT??? You mean no more absolutely useless Japanese conferences where most people doze off?? WHA...?? OH NO!!!

>

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"After I got the hang of this, I was able to achieve the same results as when I was at work," she said.

Precisely the reason this will never be allowed. It gives people an incentive to be productive and then use the remaining time for themselves, rather than stretching it out to cover 10 hours a day ans spending 5 hours sweating relations with colleagues and superiors. It puts paid to the idea of running companies based on loyalty and subservience - a notion that has been around here since the beginning of time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Regardless of the current virus crisis I've always called for reforms on working style in Japan. I'm hopeful that the crisis can also open the window of opportunity. Those who will survive and prosper are most adaptive to an emerging reality.

I presume you are using America as your working model? 39million unemployment, homeless cities, no public healthcare, rioting, racism, 1% earning 90%, gated communities, 3 million in prison, low minimum wage, living on tips...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

People seem to forget that some people are hired instead of others, and why.

we don’t hire someone self claim they only needs 5 hrs to do 8 hours of work and it’s “ok”. We choose people who are able to produce 8 hours of deliverables in 5 hours. who then work the 3 more hours we are paying them and deliver more.

don’t need people who self determine what 8 hours of work product seems like to them and stop.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My work style has changed in that I don’t work anymore

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"One big obstacle for introducing such remote work reforms, argue some, are old Japanese men -- who seem to complain when people are away from the office, or actually don't something productive and/or that doesn't revolve around them..."

Fixed it for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good way to find out abt productivity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I haven't been to the office since mid February, its glorious. I hope the pandemic triggers real change for the working culture here in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Regardless of the current virus crisis I've always called for reforms on working style in Japan. I'm hopeful that the crisis can also open the window of opportunity. Those who will survive and prosper are most adaptive to an emerging reality.

I presume you are using America as your working model?

The US approach is obviously awful for those at the lower end and the vast majority of countries rightly wouldn’t tolerate it. That said, it doesn’t mean Japan, like any other country, can’t improve.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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