A global survey by Regus, a leading provider of workplace solutions, has found that companies in Japan are among the least likely in the world to promote flexible work practices. The study defined “flexible work” as the ability of employees to work flexibly in terms of location or time.
The study was prompted by changing workplace norms around the world, as the traditional idea of working in a fixed location for a set number of hours is increasingly replaced by more dynamic and flexible ways of working. This is due to a number of factors, including advances in technology that enable employees to work on the road, at home or in different locations.
The study revealed that only 12% of Japanese companies allowed senior managers to work flexibly. This compares to 60% in France, 62% in China and a global average of 40%.
The survey also revealed that the number of Japanese companies that do not allow their employees to work flexibly was the highest in the world, with 50.6%. Globally, 81% of companies responded that they do allow some form of flexible working.
When asked if they viewed flexible working practices as more family friendly, only 57.1% of Japanese companies answered in the affirmative. Around the world, companies are using flexible working practices to encourage and facilitate working mothers to return to the workforce, less Japanese companies seem to see flexible work as offering benefits in terms of work-life balance. Globally, 70% of companies viewed flexible working as more being family friendly.
Jessy Takashi Kure, chairman, North Asia, for Regus comments: “It is important to note that this survey was conducted in February this year. Given all that has happened since then, if we were to ask the same questions today, I would expect a very different set of answers. We have seen growing interest in flexible work practices in the aftermath of the earthquake, with a particular focus on business continuity planning. Demand is increasing in our flexible working solutions — in particular for our business lounges, which support mobile workers on the move. Many companies are also exploring remote working outside of Tokyo as well as across the city, a trend we expect will continue as awareness of the benefits of flexible working increases. Around the world, companies are embracing flexible working to create a happier and more productive workplace, offering a better work-life balance to their employees while reducing their costs. I think Japanese businesses should consider the advantages of flexible working. Flexibility is the key to achieving greater resilience and adaptability to the current challenging environment.”© Japan Today