Japan is testing an original solution in light of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and to avoid further public transportation congestion with the expected increase in the number of foreign visitors.
It officially started Monday the teleworking day, which in 3 years will coincide with the opening ceremony of the Games.
This is not an entirely new initiative as London successfully tried out something similar in 2012, with a quarter of Londoners working from home. Japan is the only country though, to institute an official date to be respected annually.
As a result, for the first time Japan’s public transport was quite deserted with about 927 companies’ employees working from home or coming in late to work or not at all.
Many hi-tech companies like SoftBank, NEC, CISCO, Google Japan have embraced the change as well as Japanese airlines ANA and JAL and some financial institutions like NOMURA and Nippon Life Insurance.
Out of 6,400 NTT employees for example, 4,700 of them took advantage of this day to work from a distance.
Hiroshi Onishi, special adviser at the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Industry said, “We are doing this in light of the upcoming Games but our long-term objective is to promote more humane working conditions”.
The initiative hopes to change the “long hours equals work done” mentality, with the official slogan being “The day we change our way of working”.