business

Japan launches telework to ease congestion, reform work culture

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Kozu said he worked from home on Monday morning, planned to attend an off-site meeting in the afternoon and would not show up in the office until early evening.

You're doing it wrong

15 ( +17 / -2 )

One day a year. But only for three years.

Don't want those workers getting used to less stress, pleasant surroundings, and comfortable clothes while sitting in front of the same computers, and doing the same work, they do at the office.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Japan's work culture suffers one fatal flaw, and that is the seniority-based systems nearly all Japanese companies follow. The reason Japanese workers spend long hours at the office is because it takes a long time to get their work done. It takes a long time to do the work because there is no incentive to do the work more quickly.

The amount of productivity in most offices is painfully low, taking 10 or 12 hours to do the same work which could be done in America or the UK in 8 hours (or less). But in America and the UK, hard work is rewarded, workers can move up the ladder very fast if they work quickly and efficiently. Many become managers in their mid-twenties, with the same responsibilities and pay that a Japanese worker would have to wait until his late 40's to receive.

Take an investment bank for example. In America or Europe, a small group of people will work on a deal, and it is successful, each will get a rather large cut of the commission. In Japan, a similar deal will involve a group of 30 or more people, and if the deal is successful, none of them will get a cut of the commission. They'll have to wait for their annual bonus, which will be determined by the overall performance of the company. Japan's best investment bankers can be found in New York, Paris, or London, but not in Tokyo. And because of this, Japan's only investment bank never earns a profit, while foreign firms routinely bring in 9 or more figures in profit.

Once again, it all boils down to having a competitive spirit, which does not exist in Japan. In other countries businesses compete against each other to provide the best value for their customers, while workers compete against each other for higher pay and promotions. When workers perform, companies perform, and when companies perform, countries perform.

Telework might not end up giving workers more free time. Instead of starting work when they get to the office, they'll likely start working at the hour the usually began their commute, and stop work at the hour their commute would end. Productivity will not improve, meaning that instead of working 14 hours in the office, people will likely work even more hours from home. The only positive side of the plan is that it might reduce traffic and the number of train commuters.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

and would not show up in the office until early evening.

That's not quite how teleworking is meant to work.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One day a year is going to "ease congestion"? hahaha. Is this like the once a month Friday that was supposed to save the economy but has already stopped being mentioned?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Still a long way to go; even in Gaishi-keis it's still pretty uncommon

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Telework potentially further blurs the line between work and life. Telework is okay but not from home.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The teleworker experiment overseas is ending from failure to achieve any of the promised or theorized goals.

They're being recalled into the office to improve the drop in productivity and regain focus on shared goals of the office. It turns out that personal relationships foster cooperation. Imagine that.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

TELEWORK is it the buzzword for the month? Japan loves buzzwords. Flavour of the season or so called shun no hito

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Congestion could be handled in several different ways. Ancient Rome was also congested. They restricted heavy transport to night time hours only. Not a bad idea that. The road system in EVERY city in Japan is a mess. In most of the larger cities, traffic moves at a crawl in rush hours. And most of the traffic consists of one person in a car. A minibus service that was free or nearly so would reduce congestion massively. It could be done.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Did that where I work (foreign IT company) but 7.5/10 showed up at work. One went in the afternoon.

I worked at home and often do.

Failed experiment, even with foreigners. Wouldn't blame Japanese companies or Japanese workers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wow, thanks. Now I can work from the comfort of home for 16 hours a day, plus have to use my own supplies, internet and related items at my own expense. Sounds like a dream come true.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 The reason Japanese workers spend long hours at the office is because it takes a long time to get their work done. 

sounds like someone who has worked in a Japanese company, my sentiments exactly. Many people think JApanese are hard working. No, they are very inefficient and most of them say they do not want to go home.

It is mind-boggling working in a Japanese company

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I remember my friend said ' they are just pretending to have work to do'.  I spent days afterward peering across at other staff ( BOE ) wondering 'are they also checking their auction page'? Ha!  Can't imagine people wasting time in a competitive money-making environment, though...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and would not show up in the office until early evening.

...to work late into the night.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Didn't notice any particular change on train today. Another limp arrow?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has introduced policies to shorten working hours

You mean their agreement to limit overtime to 100 hours per month instead of Dentsu's proposed "four hours of sleep a day is too much" scheme? Thanks, Abe.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Honestly, government measures are so pathetic. It's like they come from a Junior High School kid.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Our company has us work 2 days a week from home, and looks like they are wanting to make it 3. It's just great.

They found out that we are more productive from home than being in the office due to all the wasted time/chitchat that people do in the office.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The teleworker experiment overseas is ending from failure to achieve any of the promised or theorized goals.

They're being recalled into the office to improve the drop in productivity and regain focus on shared goals of the office. It turns out that personal relationships foster cooperation. Imagine that.

Not in my company. In fact, they are expanding it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The reason it's never caught on in Japan is that despite there being so many "salarymen" the Japanese concept of a "salary" is flawed.

Whereas in other countries a salary is paid for a certain amount of work, a Japanese salary is paid for a fixed amount of hours' work, regardless of the efficiency of the employee. If a company doesn't have a sensible performance based evaluation or remuneration system telecommuting will not be allowed because the company will not be able to "evaluate" (read: check how many hours worked vs time spent watching tv) of the employee.

Hence, it might be used in a few niche companies, but it will never be widely used outside of July 24th from 2017 to 2020.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 It takes a long time to do the work because there is no incentive to do the work more quickly.

That is 100 percent correct. The hang with your coworkers concept because you have nothing else to do is a complete failure, however this is the way it has to be so lazy companies can get government support to get them through the next year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is mind-boggling working in a Japanese company

Yup. All of the Japanese I know who are living in the US, do not want to work for a Japanese company in the US. And, the ones that want to return to Japan someday, want to wait until retirement so they won't have to work for one in Japan either.

The teleworker experiment overseas is ending from failure to achieve any of the promised or theorized goals.

Nope. Not in the US. At least, not in California, especially not in Silicon Valley, where it's going quite strong.

It turns out that personal relationships foster cooperation. Imagine that.

Nope again. It turns out that people get more done without all interuptions.

Corporate culture that rewards cooperation, fosters cooperation. Physical interaction in an office no more fosters cooperation than being forced to go out with your coworkers to bars after work.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The reason Japanese workers spend long hours at the office is because it takes a long time to get their work done. It takes a long time to do the work because there is no incentive to do the work more quickly.

The amount of productivity in most offices is painfully low, taking 10 or 12 hours to do the same work which could be done in America or the UK in 8 hours (or less). But in America and the UK, hard work is rewarded, workers can move up the ladder very fast if they work quickly and efficiently.

I don't think it's just a matter of incentive. The concepts of "efficiency", "simplicity", "ease-of-use", etc don't seem to exist in Japan. Opening a bank account, ordering items online, getting mobile phone service, etc are way more complicated than in the US (and I imagine, in the UK).

Online procedures that should take 3 clicks in the US, take 12 clicks in Japan. Things that can be done entirely online involve getting forms in the mail requiring signature/stamp, or even a in-home visit from a company rep!!!

Thank the invisible wizard in the sky that there's Amazon.jp, or I would've tossed my PC out the window, if I had to use only JP e-tailers. (Not entirely true. Nitori's web presence, while still cluttered, is relatively easy to navigate and make purchases.)

This inefficiency and reluctance to modernize seems like a way of life in Japan. And, it is deeply ingrained in the business culture.

(I do realize that Japan is a nation of contradictions, and does have a number of conveniences, which do make life easier. I'm not blind. But, they make the inefficiency and reluctance to change that much more mind-boggling.)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So... twice. How is that expected to make any difference at all...?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

FFS if you're gonna do it just do it, once a year is just lame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree about the silliness of this. But really, the working environment at companies needs to change first before worrying about things like teleworking, led by more widespread use of annual compensation schemes rather than wage based salaries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Am I the only one who noticed that July 24th once a year telework day was posted at 3:40pm on July 24th?

That was the first I have ever heard about this, after it was over. Oh hey, is Premium Friday still a thing?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, thanks. Now I can work from the comfort of home for 16 hours a day, plus have to use my own supplies, internet and related items at my own expense. Sounds like a dream come true.

In our company we work 2 days a week from home. Supplies? None. Internet? I have unlimited access to it.

I suppose I use a little electricity...but it saves me 1.5 hours at least per day in commuting....plus I can sleep in. Quitting time and then I am done..no long commute home. Love it.

PS-no one at my company is forced to work from home.It's an individual choice, but they do actually encourage it. Believe me , they have the metrics to show productivity is better when people work from home.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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