Japan Data

Implementation of Telework in Japan Continues to Lag

Lifestyle Work Health

Although local government leaders in Japan have been promoting telework to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the implementation rate has hovered around 20% since July 2020.

The Japan Productivity Center has been conducting regular surveys since May 2020 to assess attitudes and work styles during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent survey, conducted on April 12 and 13, 2021, revealed that fewer people are teleworking even as authorities call on firms and employees to adopt remote work.

Companies implementing telework dropped 2.8 points from a January survey to 19.2%. During the first state of emergency in May 2020, the rate had been more than 30%, but has steadily ticked lower since July 2020.

At the time of the April 2021 survey, Miyagi, Osaka, and Hyōgo Prefectures had asked businesses to adopt remote work as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus. Despite these efforts, though, the telework implementation rate for employees in Osaka and Hyōgo was 18.4%, similar to that in both the January 2021 and October 2020 surveys, indicating that the messaging of authorities is not reaching companies and workers.

Employees teleworking from zero to two days a week accounted for 51.2% of remote workers, down 55.0% from the January survey. When the April implementation rate of 19.2% was assessed against the 18.5% rate of those working zero days in the office revealed that only 3.6% of employees were working fully from home.

When asked about telework issues, with multiple responses possible, approximately 40% of survey participants said they had trouble with preparation costs for working at home, such as setting up a work space and securing internet access. In addition, from a labor issue perspective, many were worried as to whether employers would evaluate their telework performance correctly and fairly.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner Photo © Pixta)

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