Japan has never really been big on telecommuting. The culture’s group-oriented values insist there’s an intangible benefit to having all staff members sit in on face-to-face meetings (regardless of whether they need/are allowed to contribute their own ideas), and so even as technology has brought welcome advancements to the way the country cooks, plays, and poops, working from home hasn’t really been an option for the vast majority of the workforce.
That’s changing these days, though, as the continuing coronavirus outbreak has finally convinced many companies to have their employees stay home and work remotely. So how is Japan adjusting to this new style? To investigate, Japanese internet provider Biglobe polled people who have been telecommuting at least once a week over the last three weeks, collecting 1,000 responses from men and women aged 20-69.
Starting with the good points, the most obvious benefit was a decreased chance of coronavirus infection, which 63.8 percent of workers said was a positive point of working from home, with the complete top five being:
Avoiding risk of coronavirus infection (63.8 percent)
Not commuting means less stress and more time to use for other activities (63.7 percent)
It’s easier to concentrate on work at home than it is in the office (29.4 percent)
No pointless conversations with coworkers or meetings (28.1 percent)
More mental/physical energy (22.8 percent)
- More time with my family (22.1 percent)
That’s not to say that Japan’s new telecommuters like everything about the arrangement, though. The sudden transition to working from home, coupled with the compact size of most Japanese houses and apartments, means that most people don’t have a home office setup, and not having a dedicated room, or even desk, strictly for work-related activities, which was he top complaint among the survey respondents (cited by 29.3 percent). Other complaints about teleworking included finding it harder to concentrate at home (21.1 percent), increased stress from feeling cooped in the same place up all day (18.9 percent), not being able to quickly verbally ask coworkers for help or advice (17.1 percent), and not liking other people being able to see their living space during online video conferences (10.8 percent).
Despite some drawbacks, though, it appears that many people see telecommuting as a positive, at least in the current situation. When asked to list the pros and cons of working from home, only 4.6 percent said they saw no benefits to telecommuting, compared to 17 percent who felt no upside from working remotely. So while the survey shows that telecommuting isn’t everyone’s preferred work style, maybe the benefits will convince more Japanese employers to offer it more readily in the future to workers who want or need to work from home.
Source: Biglobe via IT Media
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