Coronavirus: Fujitsu announces permanent work-from-home plan

(BBC)- Technology firm Fujitsu has said it will halve its office space in Japan as it adapts to the “new normal” of the coronavirus pandemic.

It says the “Work Life Shift” programme will offer unprecedented flexibility to its 80,000 workers in the country.

Staff will be able to work flexible hours, and working from home will be standard wherever possible.

The announcement follows a similar move in May by social media platform Twitter.

In a statement sent to the BBC, Fujitsu said it “will introduce a new way of working that promises a more empowering, productive, and creative experience for employees that will boost innovation and deliver new value to its customers and society”.

Under the plan employees will “begin to primarily work on a remote basis to achieve a working style that allows them to flexibly use their time according to the contents of their work, business roles, and lifestyle”.

The company also said the programme would allow staff to choose where they worked, whether that was from home, a major corporate hub or a satellite office.

Fujitsu believes that that the increased autonomy offered to its workers will help to improve the performance of teams and increase productivity.

Sree Sreenivasan, visiting professor of digital innovation at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism, said the announcement underlined the huge long-term impact of the pandemic on the way many of us work.

“This is yet another sign that everything we know about offices and the future of work is being upended. Thousands of employers and millions of employees are learning the pros and cons of the new normal.”

“If they can combine the best of the pros (less commuting, more productivity, less expenses, etc), while minimising the cons (lack of in-person bonding, never being off the clock, etc), millions will be grateful, while frustrating thousands who preferred the old way of life,” he added.

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