The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that began in January 2020 was accompanied by lockdowns and restrictions in countries across the world. The constraints placed on the movement of people had a major impact on working styles. The most striking example of this is the increase in teleworking. In July 2020, Nomura Research Institute (NRI) conducted a large-scale survey of consumers in the following eight countries: Japan, USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, China, and South Korea. It showed that there was significant growth in the number of workers teleworking in all eight countries, with urban China leading the way at 75%. Moreover, the extent of this growth was highly correlated with the respective national lockdowns. Regarding the relationship between telework and productivity, although 26-48% of people felt that their productivity declined with telework, there was a certain percentage of respondents who said that productivity had actually increased. Common hurdles in the shift to telework in all countries were related to communication; psychological issues such as stress and loneliness varied widely by country. When asked about their desire to continue teleworking in the future, in most countries, the number of respondents who wanted to continue was greater than that of those who did not. We can thus expect that telework will continue to be around as a workstyle in the future. While workstyle changes largely depend on decision by management, it is true that many countries have added flexible working options for their employees. This will make teleworking the new normal. “Remote working” will no longer be the exception. Rather, this development foreshadows a future in which “flexplace systems”, where employees can choose where to work from, will become widespread globally.
Nov. 16, 2021
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