Dec 24, 2018
Right now I'm very fortunate that my job allows me to work predominantly from home. I work part time and my employer rarely needs me to come into their physical premises - we just communicate via email when we need to collaborate on something. In this day and age I struggle to comprehend why more businesses don't allow staff to work from home, since there are so many benefits to it! Here are three good reasons why I think Japan should incorporate more of a work from home culture where possible.
Less pressure on the public transportation system
Depending on where in Japan you live, the morning and evening commute to and from work can be absolute hell. It's not so bad for me right now out in the countryside, but when I lived in Tokyo the morning and evening trains were a nightmare. Certain city train lines are already stretched above and beyond their capacity, and with other factors like Japan's increasing appeal to tourists and large events in the future like the Rugby World Cup next year and the 2020 Olympics after that, the pressure on public transport seems like it'll never ease.
Allowing people to work from home if it's practical to do so could be one way to alleviate that burden, and likely leave companies with happier employees in the process. I know I feel much better not being squished up in a confined space with a bunch of strangers first thing in the morning.
More of a work/life balance
Commuting takes time out of your day. Most of us don't live right in the immediate vicinity of our workplaces, and for some people their one-way commute may take an hour or more. A couple of hours of travel time a day (after an already long work day!) really does cut into your leisure time. If getting ready for work was as simple as opening up your computer from the comfort of your own home at your designated start time, you've already gained yourself some extra hours.
Japan often gets a bad rap for having one of the world's worst work/life balances, with long working hours and overtime seeming to be the norm for many companies here. Allowing your employees work from home is a way to let them capture back some of their day.
Less drain on resources for a company
At the end of the day, companies ultimately exist to make a profit. By working at home, I'm saving my employer money. I use my own laptop and smartphone for work related activities, so they don't have to allocate a workstation and a computer for me. I'm using my own electricity rather than theirs. There are some financial incentives for a company to have their staff work from home, so it surprises me that more of them don't embrace a work-from-home culture.
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!