Debate: Topic and Outline
On October 14th, we held 140TH YY club meeting for debating on the topic “Do you think Telework rises efficiency and attracts workers? And why?” Let’s see how it went in the following conversation with Akiko and Benjamin as always.
Akiko: Recently, “Telework” became a topic of conversation in Japan. This is one of the “Work Style Reforms” promoted by Abe Administration. But what is “Telework”?
Benjamin: It is a work arrangement that employees don’t have to work at the company, but enable work from distance places such as a person’s home, satellite offices, caf?s. “Tele” means “afar”, so it’s the working style away from the central place of work!
Akiko: Wow. That could allow shortening commuting hours, eliminating fatigue during commuting, and rise work efficiency!
Benjamin: Especially for workers who take care of their children and look after their parents, telework must be a really good way because they don’t have to go to the office.
Akiko: Now we can use mail, videotelephone, and Skype through Internet, we can easily communicate with each other in different places. Isn’t it great not only for employees, but also for companies?
Benjamin: However, would it be a problem? For example, telework could be applied only in certain kinds of work.
Akiko: True. This work style wouldn’t be applied especially for workers who belong to the sales department and need to respond to all customers. I think only people working at management department, IT companies, and people working as engineers or researchers who usually work by themselves can telework.
Benjamin: Also, companies can manage employees’ working hours if they are at the office, but it would be difficult if they work at home or other places. This could be a worrisome problem for boss. If there is a good relationship of trust with employees, it might be all right.
Akiko: However, there must be a limit of relationship of trust. I think it is necessary to reconsider the way of evaluations.
Benjamin: I think companies should evaluate employees not by their working hours but their outcomes or results, for example, their reports!
Akiko: Why this telework is getting public attention now? And how far is this system accepted by companies?
Benjamin: Japanese government started calling on companies to use telework system in 2007. This is one of the Prime Minister Abe’s key policies, therefore Abe administration is putting effort to promote telework. Big businesses are now testing this system, and it is said that 13% of enterprises has already participated. On the other hand, small-to-medium-sized enterprises hasn’t started yet.
Akiko: Well, now that you say that, recently I have seen many people working with PC at the caf?. Is it one of the examples of telework?
Benjamin: The government is now trying to promote telework toward the Olympic Tokyo 2020 which is expected to help easing traffic congestion. This year, July 24th was “Telework Day” and about 60 thousand people including people working for Metropolitan government and some companies in Tokyo took part this project. On that day, people didn’t go to their office building and they mainly worked at home or other places.
Akiko: I remember what people saying on that day. “The number of commuter trains decreased even it was Monday morning!”
Benjamin: In that case, this working style will be able to help easing traffic congestion during the Olympics!
Akiko: This system is not only for the Olympics. It’s one of the side effects!
Benjamin: That is true. The real purpose of telework is to solve problems of raising children, caring and nursing of the elderly. Moreover, it will lead to the solution of the declining birth rate and aging population in the future. I think this work style reform is very important.
Akiko: I hope it works!!
Written by Mr.Chiba and translated by Ms. Kojima
Ｂ：そうね！本来の目的である子育てや介護問題からの解決策だ！ さらに、将来は少子化問題の解決に繋がるであろう！ 重要な改革と言えるね！