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Fujitsu drastically reduces office workers after coronavirus outbreak

Japanese information technology company Fujitsu has unveiled plans to permanently close roughly half of its offices in Japan. This will result in requesting 80,000 domestic employees to work from home indefinitely as the company moves ahead with an internal reorganisation of their entire culture and way of operations.
Fujitsu senior researcher Genta Suzuki washes his hands as he demonstrates AI-camera recognition technology

Japanese information technology company Fujitsu has unveiled plans to permanently close roughly half of its offices in Japan. This will result in requesting 80,000 domestic employees to work from home indefinitely as the company moves ahead with an internal reorganisation of their entire culture and way of operations.

The company said that: Work Life Shift is not only a concept of “work”, but represents a comprehensive initiative to realise employee well-being by shifting preexisting notions of “life” and “work” through digital innovation.”

Fujitsu has made flexible working hours to all staff as of July. It has also increased employee capability to work from home for any staff who need to take care of any family members.

The 80,000 employees currently designated for off-site work will predominantly work remotely, although perhaps not exclusively, with the company leaving some room for office work. This is part of the company’s Smart Working programme. Through this scheme, the company has said that it will “not only improve productivity but also mark a fundamental shift away from the rigid, traditional concept of office work”.

Although the company has not mentioned the coronavirus outbreak extensively in its statement, there is a clear correlation between the pandemic and the implementation of these changes. Japan did not enforce lockdown measures the way so many other nations have, however, this did not reflect negatively in terms of dealing with the disease. Up until July 4 a total of 977 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus.

The company has also stated that it will create hubs and satellite offices across the country, facilitating a move away from traditional offices. These hubs will also act as showcase and demonstration facilities.

The company’s reduction in office space also has an environmental aspect. “In parallel, Fujitsu will streamline its use of office space to reduce its footprint to about 50 per cent of current levels, switching completely to hot desk systems, and thereby creating a comfortable and creative office environment”, the company said.

Fujitsu has stressed the decentralization of its workforce is a vote of trust in each employee’s personal responsibility and individuality. “Fujitsu will work to realise a new style of management based on employee autonomy and trust to maximise team performance and improve productivity”, the statement said.

Finally, the company stated that it remains open-minded to future changes, aiming to further sculpt company culture based on the feedback it receives from its workforce. “Fujitsu will continue to seek ways to optimise working styles by continuously listening to the voice of its employees regarding the dramatic shift toward physically separated working spaces, and by leveraging a digital platform that visualises and analyses working conditions”, the company said.



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