NHK reported this morning that although the nationwide state of emergency has been lifted, the pandemic is bringing changes to the Japanese style of work, with many corporations beginning to review how their employees work. The network said Hitachi has announced that it will adopt a new work style that is based on teleworking, speculating the move will provoke debate about working styles in Japan. According to the network, Hitachi is currently allowing its 33,000 employees to telework and has decided to extend the measure until the end of July as a way to prevent infection. The company reportedly announced that it will make telework the standard practice starting next April; provide each employee with about 3,000 yen per month starting in June for utility costs incurred from teleworking and for the purchase of face masks for when they need to go to the workplace; and provide an allowance of 500 to 1,000 yen per day to employees working in an environment where there is a high risk of infection. Noting that employee evaluation is one of the challenges of teleworking systems, the network said Hitachi is planning to adopt a system in which employees’ salaries will be decided based on their duties. According to the network, Hitachi is planning to have employees telework two or three days a week and reduce the number of employees working in the office by about half.
The network also reported that Ricoh, which has been allowing 75 to 80% of its 8,200 employees to telework, announced on Tuesday that it will continue the teleworking system because efficiency has improved due to reductions in commuting time and unnecessary work. Ricoh’s CEO reportedly told the employees: “We will not return to how we used to work. We will make active efforts so that we will also be able to help our customers introduce practical telework systems.” According to the network, Fujitsu is also planning to continue to have 75% or more of its 85,000 employees telework for the time being as part of measures to prevent COVID-19 infection.