Yahoo workers in Japan are told they can work anywhere in the country

Yahoo workers in Japan are told they can work anywhere in the country rather than return to the office – and commute in by plane when necessary

  • Yahoo workers in Japan will be allowed to work remotely from anywhere in state
  • About 8,000 employees are set to benefit from the change, starting from April 1
  • More than 90 per cent of the company’s employees are already working at home
  • It comes after Japanese firm Panasonic gave workers an optional four-day week 
  • Yahoo workers in Japan have been told that they can work from anywhere in the country rather than return to the office – and commute by plane when necessary. 

    Around 8,000 employees will benefit from the change, which takes effect on April 1, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

    More than 90 per cent of employees are already working remotely and Yahoo President Kentaro Kawabe said their performance has held or improved at home, Japan Times reported.

    The new flexible working policy will also allow employees to commute by plane, an option which was not previously available to workers, a company statement explained. 

    Yahoo workers in Japan have been told that they can work from anywhere in the country and around 8,000 employees will benefit from the change, which takes effect on April 1

    Yahoo workers in Japan have been told that they can work from anywhere in the country and around 8,000 employees will benefit from the change, which takes effect on April 1

    ‘We’re allowing Yahoo employees to live anywhere in Japan,’ Yahoo President Kentaro Kawabe said. 

    ‘This doesn’t mean we’re denying the benefits of the office – you’ll be able to fly in when needed.’

    Before the pandemic, Yahoo had allowed its employees some flexible home working but had capped the number of remote days at five per month. 

    Yahoo is now lifting the cap and setting a commuting budget of £950 ($1,300) per month per worker instead.

    The decision is a stark contrast to the pre-pandemic Japanese culture that encouraged employees to spend time in the office, often priding long working hours. 

    It comes after fellow Japanese company Panasonic last week announced employees would have the option of working four days per week as part of a bid to encourage a better work-life balance.

    The new flexible working policy will also allow employees to commute by plane, which was not previously an option available to workers, a company statement explained (file photo)

    The new flexible working policy will also allow employees to commute by plane, which was not previously an option available to workers, a company statement explained (file photo)

    Employees of the multinational electronics conglomerate will be able to take up part-time jobs or spent time on volunteer work on their extra days off.

    Chief executive officer Yuki Kusumi said: ‘Our responsibility is to strike an ideal balance between the work style and life style for our diverse human capital.’

    Technology companies worldwide have been attempting to attract workers by offering a shorter week, with Amazon.com trialling a four-day week for some staff in 2018.  

    In December 2020, consumer goods firm Unilever also started a year-long trial of a shortened working week for its employees in New Zealand.

    In November 2021, staff at Atom Bank – Britain’s first smartphone-based bank – were moved to a four-day working week for the same pay to make them ‘happier and healthier’.

    Atom Bank’s 430 employees have been doing 34-hour weeks over four days instead of 37.5 hours over five days since November 1, working from 9.30am to 4.30pm from Mondays to Thursdays. 

    Meanwhile, Microsoft Japan claimed its sales rocketed by nearly 40 per cent when it trialled a four-day week on full pay in 2019.

    And last July, the world’s largest-ever trial of a ‘four-day’ working week in Iceland was deemed an ‘overwhelming success’. 

    Meanwhile, Atom Bank's (pictured: the bank's HQ in Durham) 430 employees have been doing 34-hour weeks over four days instead of 37.5 hours over five days since November 1

    Meanwhile, Atom Bank’s (pictured: the bank’s HQ in Durham) 430 employees have been doing 34-hour weeks over four days instead of 37.5 hours over five days since November 1

    Workers were less stressed and had a better work-life balance while bosses saw no significant drop-off in productivity or provision of services, analysts said.

    The experiment, which ran from 2015 to 2019, saw some 86 per cent of Icelandic workers negotiate contracts with permanently shortened hours.

    Those who took part in the trials included police, healthcare workers, shop assistants, teachers and council workers, a report published by Autonomy and Iceland’s Association for Sustainable Democracy said.

    Throughout the experiment, most workers did not take an entire day off work but aimed to reduce their hours from 40 per week to 35 or 36 – the equivalent of saving one full working day.

    They largely did this by scrapping unnecessary meetings, shortening coffee breaks, and moving services online which allowed offices to close earlier.

    As a result, workers said they were able to organise their private lives better – running errands in the afternoons or picking up a bigger share of housework.

    They also saw more of their family and friends, and had more time for relaxation or to pursue hobbies and passion projects.

    That led to a reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety both at home and at work.

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