Yahoo Japan lets employees work remotely

Yahoo Japan originally planned to bring employees back to the office this year, but the policy took a major turn, saying in January that it would allow employees to work remotely and pay for transportation to the office at any time, including by plane.

Yahoo Japan has been promoting remote work. In 2014, it established a remote work system for working from anywhere. Before the epidemic, the number of working days at home was limited to 5 days per month, and the implementation was expanded after the epidemic. At a time when Japanese companies began to call their employees back to the office in the second half of last year, up to 90% of Yahoo Japan’s employees were allowed to work remotely as of January.

Yahoo Japan’s latest rules allow employees to work remotely permanently, but must live within commuting distance of the office, and if instructed to enter the office 24 hours in advance, employees must arrive by 11 a.m. the next day. The way to arrive can be by high-speed rail or by plane. The maximum monthly allowance is 150,000 yen, which is about NT$36,000, the daily allowance is limited to 88 US dollars, and the single commute cost is limited to 56 US dollars. The company also encourages face-to-face communication in a more pleasant way, subsidizing 5,000 yen per employee per month for social gatherings.

According to Yahoo Japan President Kentaro Kawabe, 90% of employees are still working remotely, and most employees say that remote work is no different or better than in the office, so Yahoo employees are allowed to live anywhere in Japan, but He also emphasized that this does not mean denying the benefits of the office, so the company allows employees to “fly” in when they need it.

A Yahoo employee told Japanese media that working remotely has enabled him to move closer to his family and now lives in a resort town, about a 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo.

Yahoo Japan, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group’s Z Holdings, currently employs 8,000 people. Scheduled to go into effect on April 1. Rival Japanese e-commerce company Mercari last September also let employees work from anywhere.

A survey of nearly 10,000 companies in Japan found that the work-from-home rate in Japan peaked at around 55% in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, falling to around 38% by March 2021. The 2022 Omicron outbreak has the Japanese government aggressively pushing businesses to embrace remote work.

In response to the epidemic and the shortage of IT talents, the Minister of Economic Promotion of Japan recently called on the three major business lobby groups to propose plans for remote working and actively promote the remote working system. Panasonic has announced plans for a four-day workweek, and Mizuho Financial Group has implemented a four-day workweek. Japan’s Mazda (MAZDA) reduced the proportion of office staff to less than 30%. NTT said last September that it would allow employees to work remotely in principle, with a goal of making remote work standard work by 2025. Nearly half of NTT Japan’s approximately 180,000 employees work remotely.

Remote work is here to stay after the pandemic. Marc Cenedella, chief executive of Ladders, a high-level human resources firm, said the shift to remote work would be the biggest social change since the end of World War II.

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