What a free work style makes possible
The Merits and Demerits of Remote Work
The “freedom” of where to work is probably one of the few freedoms we have won, as we are bound by various regulations in the Corona Disaster. Remote work benefits not only employees but also companies.
According to a study by the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research), companies that implement hybrid work have 35% lower employee turnover and higher satisfaction scores. Allowing remote work also provides access to a larger regional talent pool.
Remote work also has advantages in terms of reduced office costs. In other countries, there have been efforts to offer enhanced benefits in exchange for closing offices or renting out vacant office space.
On the other hand, it is true that some employers and managers are skeptical of the results of hybrid work. According to a Microsoft survey, more than 80% of leaders are unsure if their teams are productive. The lack of physical visibility increases the difficulty of managing members of the team. In addition to productivity, some respondents also pointed out the challenges of remote work in terms of team cohesion and social connectedness.
In the opinion piece that follows, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of remote work and how to adjust and utilize the balance between the two.
Remote work makes it possible for me to be me
In the spring, I take my first steps as a consultant.
If you tell that fact to people around you, what they will surely come back with is, “You are such a career women!” It sounds like a lot of hard work. Can you stand it? I was not sure if I would be able to endure such words. To be honest, I think remote work will become an indispensable tool for me to work in my own way in the future. In this article, I would like to imagine what the future of working life will be like from the perspective of “women and remote work.
The most common issues surrounding working women are “symptoms related to childbirth, childcare, and menstruation. Remote work will alleviate these problems and help eliminate the M-shaped curve that is an issue for Japanese society. Based on a survey of more than 7,400 people worldwide, Catalyst found that women who raise children and have access to remote work are 32% less likely to intend to leave their jobs than those who do not.
Symptoms associated with menstruation vary from person to person. Some women go through their monthly cycles smoothly, while others experience endometriosis or premenstrual dysphoric mood disorder (PMDD) with side effects. The use of remote work and flexible work hours makes it possible to create a work schedule that takes into account the fluctuations of physical conditions, which are never constant.
However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the challenges that tend to be “blind spots” with remote work. These are the physical and mental strain at home and the kinship bias that can prevent promotions. A study led by Yale University concluded that women with children who work remotely are more likely to experience symptoms of burnout and depression, including anxiety and loneliness, than fathers who also work from home. In addition, according to Deloitte Women at Work, 60% of female hybrid workers feel excluded from meetings, and almost half are concerned about not getting access to the leaders they need for career advancement.
My way of working is to be able to build up my career without having to stop, even if the steps are small, in response to physical and mental changes and the emergence of life events. I would like to work with a “givens axis” while taking advantage of remote work, which I expect will continue for a long time.
Incentives for Migration
Some areas in Japan, Switzerland, and the United States have introduced financial incentives to encourage migration from large cities to rural areas. Nevertheless, there are several conditions for this, such as staying in the area for more than a few years or working in the area, and it seems a bit difficult for nomadic workers to meet these conditions. Will remote work as an incentive for migration lead to people putting down roots in rural areas? This is a theme that continues to be of interest.
New Employment Model
A new employment model is being adopted in Ama Town, Shimane Prefecture, starting in December 2020 to help alleviate labor shortages in rural areas. This initiative targets occupations with busy seasons, such as lodging and agriculture, and dispatches workers from cities on a multi-month basis. The purpose is to create new employment opportunities and promote migration to rural areas. As the degree of freedom of where to work has increased, creating an environment where it is easy to take on the challenge of multiple jobs will play an important role.
Change in Hotel Value
HOTEL INDIGO Karuizawa offers a “well-being” work plan in Karuizawa. The concept is “an oasis beyond the ordinary,” with a comfortable workspace that feels like a vacation home, and a lounge library lined with books selected by Tsutaya. Of course, wifi and power supply are available. The hotel is easily accessible with only an hour’s bullet train ride from the Tokyo metropolitan area. For longer stays, there is a gym and spa in the hotel, and many refreshing spots in the surrounding area, such as art museums and Shiraito Waterfall. The hotel’s value provision that accompanies remote work is likely to change the future of hotels.
All Choices for Workers
Spotify, a music distribution service provider, is implementing a “Working From Anywhere Program” that allows employees to choose how and where they work. Based on the concept that “work is not a place you go, but something you do,” the program helps people choose the best job for them, regardless of which city or country they live in. It also allows people to choose the mode of work that best suits their lifestyle. It is up to the employee to choose whether to come to the office, use a coworking space or home, or even hybridize.