30 Jun Telework – What are the issues for Japanese business?
Telework (aka “work from home”) is a new phenomenon for Japanese workers and one which has not been easy for the Japanese business culture. See our view on this last month.
With the onset of the pandemic, working remotely or using platforms for virtual seminars replacing attendee events is generating a number of “degree of satisfaction” issues for workers. In Japan, a questionnaire sent to young Japanese professionals asked about the issues of working from home. The number one issue with over 40% of respondents was “insufficient communication”. This included things like:
- the inability of asking minor things over a Zoom conference
- missing out on being able to observe and learn from their superiors
- or not being able to fully understand the nuance of the discussion.
In its recent commentaryアハターオフィスの衝撃 (The Impact of an Avatar Office), Japan’s prestigious Dai-ichi Life Research Institute outlines how interesting possibilities that are being explored overseas might be used to address these type of challenges – those which seem to be more significant for Japanese companies.
One potential IT based solution for a human interaction problem could be the creation of an “avatar office” (an avatar is a character that represents an online user). The idea of an avatar office is that you ‘go to work’ using your avatar. Online you can access a visual graphic map of your office. The benefit of this is that whilst working remotely, a person can work in an office setting as the visual shows what the other employees are doing (themselves depicted as avatars). As an example, an avatar office allows remote individuals to see if others are in a meeting, busy, or available.
This type of concept is opening up IT based development opportunities to tackle a problem which will only intensify as the allocation of employee time to telework increases.