Japanese Labour Ministry to Promote Remote Work

Oct. 26, 2016

The Mainichi reports:

"The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is set to push for greater distribution of corporate work to branch offices, to allow employees to telecommute rather than gather in a central workplace.

"Access to a local office near the home would make work more convenient for employees raising children or caring for the infirm. The ministry plans to initiate a project of having the private sector provide companies with branch offices in the Tokyo metropolitan area, starting in fiscal 2017.

"The government is aiming to increase the percentage of workers who telecommute from home one day a week or more from the 2.7 percent of 2015 to 10 percent or more in 2020. However, due to company concerns such as that they will not be able to manage the work hours of employees, not many businesses have adopted telecommuting from home.

"As an alternative, the ministry is pushing for branch offices, which allow easy management of work hours while also having the necessary equipment for telecommuting and being convenient for workers.

"In the case of an employee commuting from a Tokyo suburb to the downtown area, if they changed to a nearby branch office they could cut down on their commute time, more easily raise their children or care for infirm family members, and avoid the crowding of rush hour.

"In an example of such telecommuting already in practice, Tokyu Corp. has "shared offices" set up along its rail lines in locations such as Tokyo's Setagaya Ward and in Yokohama, where around 40 companies are borrowing space to set up branch offices. Employees use electronic time cards when they arrive and leave, making it easy for the companies to manage the employees' work hours.

"As the labor ministry looks ahead to its planned project to promote such telecommuting, it is also considering revising guidelines to call on companies to cover the necessary data transfer and other communication costs."

Source: The Mainichi online, 22 October 2016


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