The shift to telework, video conferences, social distancing and reduction of high-density work settings, are all measures taken by companies to help mitigate the transmission of Coronavirus. This change in work life has also encouraged the digitization of businesses.
For many companies in Japan, work from home measures will stay in place for better operational efficiency. For example, Fujitsu Ltd. said it would split its office space over the next three years, encouraging the electronics maker’s 80,000 employees to work from home.
The companies that are also embracing change are the small- and mid-sized companies, which make up more than 90% of the nation’s enterprises.
“Many companies small and large have talked about digitization as being important, but put it off,” said Miku Hirano, Chief Executive Officer of Cinnamon Inc., a provider of AI-based business-solution services. “The pandemic is making them take up the mission.”
In addition, Japan’s government is also stepping up efforts to upgrade the digital infrastructure of ministries and public services next year. The unprecedented decline in economic activity has forced the country to prioritize the digital movement to enable more entrepreneurs and businesses to transition online. A McKinsey report states that the current challenges could “prove to be a catalyst for Japanese employers to automate their operations and retrain employees to deliver more value.” The reduction in the labor workforce has contributed to lower productivity levels thus automated procedures would enable companies to lower costs in the long-term and improve efficiency.
As for digital companies, the infrastructure is already in place to make quicker decisions to work remotely. Other industries such as real estate and retail have started to look for their own engineers to develop in-house software and systems to cope with the shift in consumer behavior and the new way of life.