back to article You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Fujitsu tells 80,000 of its Japan employees: From now on, you work remotely

Fujitsu is to permanently shutter one half of its office real estate in Japan and will ask 80,000 locals to work from home permanently as it redefines work culture internally in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the auspices of the Work Life Shift campaign, Fujitsu is to study data of how employees use offices, with a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title..

    Anyone else get the quote in the title? (Rawhide!)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hot dog. What the hell are those guys gonna due when cut loose from the Japanese office culture. I bet they are gonna freak out.

    1. Nunyabiznes

      I was wondering the same thing. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, this does to corporate culture.

      It should help commercial rental rates, if it becomes more widespread at least.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMSN3a2x98w

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      "What the hell are those guys gonna due when cut loose from the Japanese office culture."

      Just like the US, UK, Australia and Canada. They'll log off their computers at 1700 and join any of the neighbors who feel so inclined (most of them probably) at a local watering hole. Their wives will then breath a sigh of relief at having their husband out of the place for a few hours and go off to socialize with the neighbor's wives.

      1. Frogmaster

        I can see the appeal in what you say, and the upvotes, but under the new regime with Slack, Teams, etc. and everyone getting a mobile phone the pressure will be on to extend those hours well past 5pm. My daughter made the mistake of leaving her workphone on at the weekend and picked up messages from a senior Partner on Sunday morning asking for some info :(

        We need those proposed workplace rules such as turning off email servers after 6pm, no mobile/chat interactions out of normal hours, etc. so that folk do not feel so pressured to respond.

    4. Valeyard

      I visited our Japan office and was still sitting there at 7PM on my first day's visit wondering if I make the English look bad by leaving at 5 on the dot as no one else had moved...

      Eventually I got bored and stood up to leave. As soon as I did the entire office stood up and packed their things too, there are so many cultural gotchas, and one of those seemed to be not looking "lazy" in front of the visitor from HQ.

      The working and office culture there has so many weird details and customs, I can only imagine how much of a shock working from home will be

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Smart Management

    This works on so many levels, saving cash on office space, preparing for the next big pandemic, and making the employees happier, all the benefits of fewer people commuting.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Smart Management

      "preparing for the next big pandemic"

      Yep, hot-desking is a really good preparation for that.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Smart Management

        "hot deaski9ng" ? yeah, as a contractor, I do that sometimes. Does not bother me. Normally I end up bringing in my own gear, then they see me using it more productively, and will ultlimately provide me with tools that actually do the job [so I bring the PC box home, put Devuan on it, bring it back all set up and ready to go, with maybe an hour of bnillable time and the rest just letting it cook in the background)

        But anyway, yeah - hot-desking. Not such a bad thing, I'd say. You're in 1 day a week? What about all of those train commuters you weren't having to social distance from...

        (we're talking Japan but I've done the commute train thing, too, when needed, in Southern California, where you typically live 30 minutes from where you work if you drive - at least on a 1 hour train ride you can sleep)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Smart Management

      all of what you said, plus (in many cases) just cutting back on the otherwise wasted commute time. Once people get used to the self-discipline needed to work from home (ok right now I still owe my client a couple of hours for today, better get back to it) the flexibility along with practicality for most things makes total sense.

      If *ANY* *GOOD* can come out of this *THING* (that angers the HELL out of me), the work-from-home trend *IS* *IT*.

      My last true I.T. job was working for Fujitsu Systems of America. They built cash registers and bank ATMs and things like that. I was an I.T. guy (contractor) hired to deal with the backlog of work requests for custom reporting. I got them all done, by doing the easiest first, then going around and talking to the people who did the requests to find out what they REALLY wanted. H.R. hated me, of course, until I did a custom job for them, then they quieted up and left me alone. And after that this one corporate guy from Japan hung around a LOT to get me to do custom reports and analyses, which of course I did. All in all I think Fuji was a really good corporation to work for, and my reason for leaving was that I was going into businss for myself with a partner to produce our own software, which almost worked, and then I eventually bought the corporation and now use it for doing contract development work (electronics _and_ software/firmware). OK so it wasn't that profitable but it's been fun.

      And isn't that the point, "fun" ???

      So go for it, Fujitsu - make this work, lead the way!

  4. dougkiwi

    Don't many Japanese have fairly small abodes? Not sure. Working from home can be stressful if you don't have a suitable desk to work from, or even space for a desk.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      The hub idea would be a good way to get round that one.

      1. BrownishMonstr

        The only benefit could be a shorter commute. I don't know if that would offset meetings (easier face-to-face), your desk requirements (will hubs have good desks), and whatever else (free tea/coffee, secure drawers, which I don't lock but trust my colleagues not to rummage through).

    2. Ken Y-N

      Japanese resident here - I'm with another major Japanese company and waiting for the same announcement for us. My home office is the kitty room sitting on the floor at a low table staring at an A4-sized screen, and I've probably got a larger than average place.

      It's not mentioned in the post, but there's an extra 5,000 yen (about 35 quid or so) per month to buy a desk, pay for air conditioning, etc.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        A 24-27” screen 1080p or better would Shirley fit on your table.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          >A 24-27” screen 1080p or better would Shirley fit on your table.

          Not lived in a Japanese apartment?

          Might be room for that sized screen on the wall or plug the laptop into the TV and hope the laptop can handle a 4K screen an that no one else (in the house) is also working from home.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      all of the houses I've seen in Japan, at least middle and upper-middle class, are very much like what you'd find in California. Sure, the land is expensive, but the house will reflect that and have many rooms. An office room, just like a Californian's house, is not unreasonable. In fact, comparing Japan housing (cost and appearance) to California is probably a pretty close approximation...

      though I haven't been to Japan since the 80's, everything I've read seems to confirm it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What I've seen in the last few years in urban areas is those nice big plots sold off when the owner dies and replaced with two houses. But you can pick up a derilict farmhouse or county house for peanuts through auctions ... Time to get that nice little place near niseko for the winter?

  5. very angry man
    Coffee/keyboard

    higher degree of autonomy

    I can see a lot of jap's working out of their cars "auto-no-money" sly,

    or not working!

  6. Ken Y-N
    Paris Hilton

    I predict the Fujistu salaryman divorce rate going up; with hubby at home all the time and him having no chance to go out with the boys after work for networking over a beer or ten, marital stress will go up.

    Paris as one of the favourite evening pastimes is visiting hostess bars, and not surprisingly one of the major vectors of new cluster outbreaks is clubs for the gents (and for ladies too).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The hub idea is interesting.

    "Under the auspices of the Work Life Shift campaign, Fujitsu is to study data of how employees use offices, with a view of giving them more tools and options to work from home, at hubs or be more mobile."

    Could WeWork or similar rise phoenix-like from the ashes of its own excess? We are still tied to the idea of our own office (albeit much smaller, with one of the two floors - over two thirds of the total space - gone dark) with on-prem development and file servers. I think most would be happier with more central options (specially on a Friday, once it is really actually safe to go to the pub).

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: The hub idea is interesting.

      So instead of sharing with people in your work bubble, you’d rather cross contaminate with any fucker WW would let in to service their massive debt pile.

      Community workplaces no!!!

    2. LucreLout

      Re: The hub idea is interesting.

      Could WeWork or similar rise phoenix-like from the ashes of its own excess?

      No, WeWork is far too far gone. A competitor could rise offering a similar product with a less nutty business model though. I think a more plausible tweak would be regular rentals of the whole space by large companies for the same handful of days per month, with the space shared by lots of businesses, with most employees WFH most of the time - the flexi office being just for monthly get togethers.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: The hub idea is interesting.

        As appropriate to your home situation company yo cough up to buy you a ...

        - decent laptop

        - decent second/third screen (24” and above)

        - decent desk/folding down desk/office chair

        - decent Bluetooth headset

        - keyboard/mouse

        - Ring Central/Zoom account

        - small printer if really needed

        for many people little more else needed.

        1. intrigid

          Re: The hub idea is interesting.

          I would be happier with the company estimating the net cost savings per employee of permanent work-from-home, and then offering say 25% of that savings to me in the form of a permanent bonus on my paycheck. Based on industry numbers I've heard thrown around, that would amount to me taking home at least an extra couple thousand a year.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The hub idea is interesting.

        And how long will it take to remove all the covid from those shared places?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: The hub idea is interesting.

          >And how long will it take to remove all the covid from those shared places?

          Don't talk about CoVid19 !

          Just been through the issues of shared/hot desk computers and specifically the problems with cleaning keyboards and scroll wheeled mice.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Closed

    They already long closed much of UK and Ireland offices.... and fucked the jobs off to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Portugal etc.

    They could send some of the UK ones left to go and work at the Post Office to keep an eye on Horizon.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the start of the end of days

    I suspect all commercial landlords are shitting it, and worse that that, does the world at large have any idea how much pension funds have at stake in commercial property!? We'll all be on the poverty line at 65+

    I only wish I had a bunker in the countryside to either see my time out, or only come back to "civilisation" after it's reset. The loons seem to be running the asylum [I'm from a family of nutters before any offend-o-tron gets their woke knickers in a twist]

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: So, the collapse of human civilisation

      It's not like it hasn't happened before (and it wasn't inevitable back then either) :-/.

    2. John Sturdy

      Re: This is the start of the end of days

      They'll start converting them to residential use, some for people who were otherwise homeless (this hasn't worked well so far but that never stops anyone) and some expensive ones more like that wave of warehouse loft conversions a decade or two ago.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the start of the end of days

      as a millennial I already expect to be on the poverty line at 65 - I don't have the benefit of a final salary pension like many of my older colleagues do. I expect that the state pension age will move to 120 and my private pension will pay about 10p/month, which won't pay for the rent (I won't have bought a house due to the cost).

      It'll be dignitas for me

      1. Scroticus Canis

        Re: "It'll be dignitas for me"

        Better start buying a prepaid plan now then, they're not free. On the bright side maybe Soylent will have opened a "free" service by then.

      2. Quarak

        Re: This is the start of the end of days

        Indignitas will be more than a few folks retirement plan.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ""In parallel, Fujitsu will streamline its use of office space to reduce its footprint to about 50 per cent of current levels"

    Means 50% less money spent for offices. That's something the bean counters understand, they've no clue about 'productivity' and thus 90% of their claims are BS to hide the actual reason: More profit.

    At least in the short term.

  11. mg2003

    Work from home, but...

    come into the "hub" every day to pick up your faxes and give us your hanko here, here and here. Now you need to stay until your manager goes home...

  12. VulcanV5

    Career move

    They can always come to the UK where new horizons await as sub-postmasters.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop working from home

    They now say there are "benefits" to working in the office and want everyone back. They won't say what those benefits are (certainly not a pay rise, despite smashing their profit target).

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