Business 55 – Use the coronavirus crisis to promote teleworking

  • 投稿カテゴリー:Business

Warm up

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  1. What industry do you work in and what is your role?
  2. What are your responses in your role / position?
  3. Can you describe to the function of your workplace / company?
  4. How many departments, how many offices. National or International?
  5. What are the minimum requirements for employment ie Education or Experience?
  6. How many opportunities are there to ‘move up the ladder’?
  7. What is the process for changing job roles ie Interview? Test?

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General discussion about your workweek:

  1. Current projects? Deadlines? Opportunities?
  2. Anything of interest happening?

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1. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent shock waves across Japan last week with his decision to close schools to slow the spread of COVID-19. This abrupt decision drew fire from many schools, teachers and parents since it was announced with little preparation.

2.  Although opinion is divided over the move, one thing is clear. The prime minister’s announcement sharply increased the public’s sense of urgency. The only effective way at the moment to prevent the spread of this novel coronavirus is decrease personal contact among people and to increase personal hygiene, such as hand-washing. Abe is now even considering enacting a special emergency law to help tackle the crisis. More people are coming to realize that the risk of infection is rising in local communities across the nation.

3.  One welcome by-product of the crisis is that work-style reform is getting a much-needed boost because more companies are encouraging their employees to telework. This presents a great opportunity to change the nation’s archaic corporate culture, which demands high loyalty and long working hours from workers. If telecommuting becomes the norm, employees will be able spend much more time with their families and, most importantly, fathers will be able to spend more time participating in child care.

4. According to a survey by the internal affairs ministry, the percentage of Japanese firms that have adopted telework rose to 19.1 percent in 2018 from 11.5 percent in 2012 — a notable improvementbut the vast majority still do not. In a recent online survey of some 1,800 working mothers by Connehito Inc., 80.8 percent of the participants said they are not allowed to work from home due to their profession or a lack of online security. Many managers still feel uncomfortable if they can’t see their workers in person. And if employees work as a team, managers also worry that performance may decline if face-to-face communication is restricted.

5. Yuri Tazawa, the president of Telework Management Inc., a consulting firm specializing in telework, says she is often asked by corporate managers how they should evaluate employees who work from home. Instead of giving a straight answer, she often replies, “How do you evaluate workers if they work in the office?” Many managers fail to come up with a good answer. At that point, she says, they realize that they have been evaluating employees based on their work attitude, such as how late they stay in the office, rather than their performance.

6. After discovering that an employee had contracted COVID-19, Dentsu Group Inc. immediately closed its headquarters and ordered its 5,000 employees to work from home. Daiwa Securities Group Inc., which employs 10,000 people, created a telework system that allows employees with small children to work from home. The labor ministry’s announcement this week to provide subsidies of up to ¥1 million to small and medium-sized enterprises to cover half the cost of introducing telework should help such firms make the transition.

Coronavirus: PM addresses the nation on pandemic | Nine News Australia

7. It is time for Japanese firms to change their mindset and promote telecommuting. The move will require preparation, such as setting up online communications systems. Once such systems are established, they can also be utilized in the event of natural calamities such as typhoons and earthquakes — an invaluable measure in this disaster-prone country.

8. By allowing employees to work remotely, fathers can become more involved in child-rearing and other household duties, which will help relieve the lopsided burden that many mothers — especially those who also work — are forced to shoulder. After taking a short child care leave, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said that he came to realize how hard it is for a single parent to