How does Abenomics impact the workplace?June 5, 2017 / By
Work-style reform, one of the policies under Abenomics is booming in Japan. Yet this poses a risk of shrinking economic growth due to the decrease in the population of productive professionals, with the participation of women and elderly people in the labour market necessary to boost this talent pool.
However, in 20 of the 35 OECD member countries, low productivity due to long working hours remains at about 60 per cent of the US level and remains as an obstacle to their participation in the labour market (Source: Japan Productivity Centre).
This poses potentially serious social problems and governments must act to reform such a style of working.
Table: Labor Productivity per hour in OECD in 2015
Source: Japan Productivity Centre
There are many ways to reform the way we work, starting with institutional reform on the Japanese government’s end. This involves enforcement of fixed-time leave or the introduction of a flexi-time system, but for advanced corporate initiatives, there are also many ways to review work-style and workplace reform.
Organisations are trying to build office space that can encourage creativity, and workplace providers are offering office space and environments that can capture the growing demand for diverse work styles. Many companies are also participating in JLL Academy’s theme of work-style reform, and the movement to revise the way we work through work-style reform is spreading.
There are many ways to drive workplace change, such as setting up a hot-desking system, and establishing space where communication and meetings can easily take place so that employees can interact with each other. Communal areas such as a cafeteria dedicated to employees, or building stairs inside the company building to make it easy to move between multiple floors are also positive ways to reform the way we work.
Workplace providers are changing due to work-style reform. Demand is growing as large companies start to adopt diverse working methods, with a proliferation of shared office space in Japan, mainly in the central area.
Office space located in the fringe CBD aims to capture demand for this shared space: satellite office space for corporations located in the centre of the city reduce the time commuting for some employees. In super-high-rise complex office buildings, changes due to work-style reform are seen even in the retail section, where the number of stores supporting office workers with nurseries and clinics is increasing.
Although it is a reform of work reform initiated by the government, it is catching on with many companies. The future of the Japanese economy is dependent on driving productivity through reform of work-style, making creative office and satellite office management more important than before.
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