Japan Data

Right to Disconnect: Most Japanese Employees Get Contacted Out of Hours


A survey of Japanese employees found that 72.4% were contacted outside business hours by superiors and other coworkers.

According to a recent 2023 Rengō survey looking at the right to disconnect, 72.4% of employees who responded stated they have been contacted regarding work by their subordinates, colleagues, and superiors outside business hours. This was a rise of 8.2 points compared to prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the figure was 64.2%.

The frequency varied, as 10.4% stated it was “almost every day,” 8.0% said “4–5 days a week,” and 14.3% were getting contacted “2–3 days a week.” Just 27.6% of employees said they “have never been contacted.”

Frequency of Work-Related Contact from Coworkers Outside Business Hours

By industry, at 82.7%, those who worked in construction had the highest proportion for being contacted out of hours. This was followed by 79.6% in the medical and welfare fields, and 78.0% in accommodation and restaurant services.

A further 44.2% of respondents said they were contacted by clients regarding work outside business hours. This was particularly the case for more than half of respondents in construction (66.7%) and finance and insurance (50.9%).

Frequency of Work-Related Contact from Clients Outside Business Hours

The percentage of respondents who “feel stress when work subordinates, colleagues, and superiors make work-related contact outside business hours” was 62.2%. The survey also found that 66.7% thought it was “necessary to limit contact.” Regarding work-related contact from clients, 19.9% of respondents stated there were company rules regarding this happening outside business hours and where workplaces had labor unions, this rose to 29.7%.

Asked about the right to disconnect, which allows employees to refuse to respond to work-related contact outside business hours or on holidays, the combined number of respondents who “completely agree” or “somewhat agree” that they “want to be able to refuse contact” stood at 72.6%.

Do you want to be able to refuse contact outside business hours?

Of those who wanted to be able to refuse, the highest percentage were employees engaged in the finance and insurance industries at 81.8%. The other two main industries with employees who felt this were information and communications with 79.8% and construction with 77.8%.

The nationwide survey, conducted online in September 2023, received 1,000 responses from employees (full-time, part-time, and freelance) aged from 18 to 59.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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