Only about 40% of employees of the initial seven prefectures under a state of emergency declared by the central government are working from home to cope with the spread of the new coronavirus, according to a survey conducted by Persol Research and Consulting Co., based in Tokyo.
The online survey was conducted on about 25,800 workers in the 20s-50s age range nationwide from April 10 through 12, after the emergency declaration. Of those workers, the rate of telework implementation was calculated for 12,700 full-time employees within the seven prefectures.
The rate of employees currently teleworking rose by 21 percentage points to 38.8% compared to the previous survey in March. The area with the highest percentage was Tokyo where the rate was 49.1%, while Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures recorded in the 30-40% range. For Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka, the figure was 20-30%.
On the other hand, roughly 60% of respondents said they had gone to their place of work, even for only a short period of time, after the declaration.
The government is urging the business community to reduce the number of employees working from offices by 70%. “Quite a few people find it difficult to work without physically going to the office. Telecommuting cannot effectively be carried out with the efforts of only individual companies, it will require an industry-wide effort,” said Yuji Kobayashi, a senior researcher at Persol Research and Consulting.