Introducing ‘telework’ to prepare for the 2020 Olympics
JAPAN yesterday launched a scheme to promote “telework”, or working from home, in an effort to ease congestion when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics, as well as soften a notoriously rigid work culture.
Almost 930 companies, including Suntory Beverage & Food, Ajinomoto and Tokyu Construction are participating in “Telework Day,” to be held on July 24 each year from now until the Olympics opening ceremony set for July 24, 2020.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has introduced policies to shorten working hours, raise contract workers’ pay, and curb abuse of labour laws. Telework could be another way to reform working practices that some say are behind the times.
“Once the Olympics start it will be hard to get to work, so we are doing this as an experiment,” said Takashi Kozu, 61, president of the Ricoh Institute of Sustainability and Business.
“The lifestyles of younger generations are changing, so firms should offer alternative work styles to maintain employees’ incentive.”
Kozu said he worked from home on Monday morning, planned to attend an off-site meeting in the afternoon and would not show up in the office until early evening.
Telework is more common in other countries, especially in the information technology sector, where employees regularly use teleconferencing or log on from the neighbourhood cafe.