The spread of telework has increased due to the spread of new coronavirus infections. Telework refers to working at a place other than his office, such as his home, which reduces commuting time and reduces mental stress. However, in order to telework, it is necessary to prepare the environment at home to the same level as the workplace, otherwise the work will be burdensome for employees. In addition, working from home increases the burden of utility costs due to the use of air conditioners for long periods of time in the summer. The number of companies willing to do so has also increased. In this article, we will introduce the merits and demerits of allowances in telework and actual introduction cases.
Table of contents
Things to keep in mind before considering the allowances necessary for telework
There are three things to keep in mind before considering the allowances necessary for telework.
- Prospects for telework and establishment of corona misfortune
- Telework allowance background and market price
- Use of telework allowance
Now let’s go through them one by one.
Prospects for telework and establishment of corona misfortune
Many companies continue to telework even after COVID-19, and it is essential to establish telework in order to allow diverse work styles in the future. There have been virus epidemics in the past, such as SARS in 2003 and MARS in 2012, but the new coronavirus was the first to affect the scale of life on a global scale, and it is still mutating. The impact is expected to be long-lasting. In addition, it is mandatory to wear a mask due to social distancing, and the national and local governments are calling for a 70% reduction in office work. Even after corona, measures will be important to establish telework.
Telework allowance background and market price
There are various reasons behind the introduction of the telework allowance. Working from home can be daunting, as colleagues and bosses can’t see how you’re doing. Therefore, if telework is prolonged, it will lead to a decrease in employee motivation. By providing a telework allowance, it is possible to improve the awareness of working from home and maintain employee motivation. In addition, there is a high possibility that the living expenses of employees will increase as a result of working from home for a long time, as the cost of improving the environment, which is important for telework. Telework allowances are now being paid as a subsidy for utility costs. It seems that many companies provide a telework allowance starting from 20,000 yen, and it is described in the form of a telecommuting allowance on the salary slip. Unlike transportation expenses, telecommuting allowances are taxable, so in any case, it can be said that the burden on employees is inevitable.
Use of telework allowance
The use of the telework allowance can be divided into two main categories: the maintenance of the Internet environment and the purchase of equipment. An internet connection is required for telework. The telework allowance is used for building the Internet environment and communication costs. Also, you need to prepare a computer that is essential for telework as well as an internet connection. You may also need multiple monitors to improve work efficiency. Depending on the company, there are cases where the computer itself is provided instead of an allowance. In addition, you need to prepare a work desk and chair that suits you in order to make working from home comfortable. There are few companies that provide such equipment in kind, and there may be cases where it is purchased with a telework allowance.
Advantages of paying allowances for telework
There are three benefits to paying an allowance for telework.
- It is possible to reduce the amount of transportation expenses paid
- Able to respond flexibly to diversifying work styles
- Employees can maintain their home environment at the company’s expense
Now let’s go through them one by one.
It is possible to reduce the amount of transportation expenses paid
One of the benefits of paying an allowance for telework is that you can reduce the amount of transportation expenses paid. By introducing telework, it is possible to reduce transportation costs. Many companies have switched to a payment method in which actual expenses are paid according to the number of days worked. The reduction in transportation costs is more effective in large companies with a large number of employees, and there are examples of companies that use the reduced amount for telecommuting allowances.
Able to respond flexibly to diversifying work styles
The second merit of providing allowances for telework is that it can flexibly respond to diversifying work styles. By creating a work-at-home environment, it will help alleviate the mental stress of employees who find it difficult to balance childcare and nursing care. In the past, when employees had to go to work and work, they had no choice but to leave their jobs when it became difficult to balance work and family. However, if telework is possible, there is no need to leave the job, and the retention rate of employees can be improved. In addition, by improving the retention rate of employees, it will also reduce the cost of hiring, which will lead to a reduction in training time for new employees.
Employees can maintain their home environment at the company’s expense
The third advantage of providing allowances for telework is that employees can maintain their home environment at the company’s expense. Employees can introduce the necessary environment for working from home, such as an Internet environment, a personal computer, and a desk and chair for work, at the company’s expense. Even employees who want to build an environment where they can work in the company while staying at home, but have been hesitant to introduce it because of the cost, can actively prepare the environment.
Disadvantages of not paying allowances for telework
There are two disadvantages of not paying allowances for telework.
- May harm the health of employees
- Affect employee motivation
Let’s look at them one by one.
Although there are many benefits to providing telework allowances, there are also disadvantages if telework allowances are not paid. It affects the mind and body of the employee. Especially when it comes to working from home, the chances of meeting employees face-to-face are drastically reduced, making it difficult to grasp their health status. By providing a telework allowance, employees can maintain a comfortable working environment and maintain their health.
May harm the health of employees
One of the disadvantages of not paying allowances for telework is that it may harm the health of employees. Telework basically involves sitting on a chair for a long time, which puts a strain on your lower back and shoulders. In some cases, stiff shoulders and eye fatigue can cause dizziness, and lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, which can affect your mind and body. With telework, opportunities to see employees face-to-face are drastically reduced, making it difficult to ascertain their health status. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare the equipment so that the employees can work comfortably.
Affect employee motivation
The second disadvantage of not paying allowances for telework is that it affects employee motivation. It is also possible that employees’ motivation will drop significantly if they do not pay telework allowances. Despite being instructed by the company to work from home, the allowance is not paid, and if the Internet environment and work environment are prepared at the actual cost, the distrust of the employees will increase. This can lead to a decrease in motivation and lower work performance. If the company prepares what you need for work, you can prevent a decrease in employee confidence and motivation.
Examples of companies that have introduced allowances for telework
Here are three examples of companies that have introduced allowances for telework.
- Mercari, Inc.
- Yahoo Japan Corporation
- Kaonavi Co., Ltd.
Now let’s go through them one by one.
The first example of a company that has introduced allowances for telework is Mercari, Inc. On April 8, 2020, Mercari, Inc., which operates a flea market app, has transitioned to a full telecommuting system following the government’s declaration of a state of emergency. The telework allowance paid is 60,000 yen for half a year, and employees can purchase items such as desks and chairs that can feel a large purchase burden because they have a large amount of expenses.
Yahoo Japan Corporation
The second example of a company that has introduced allowances for telework is Yahoo Japan Corporation. In 2013, Yahoo Japan Corporation established its own remote work system “Anywhere Office”, and I was working from home with a limit of 5 times a month. However, from February 2020, we have abolished the maximum number of times at Dokodemo Office and have shifted to working from home in principle. The telework allowance provided was 50,000 yen in electronic money. In addition, we have increased the monthly communication fee subsidy, and 7000 yen is paid every month.
Kaonavi Co., Ltd.
The third example of a company that has introduced allowances for telework is Kaonavi Co., Ltd. Kaonavi Co., Ltd. provides a remote work allowance of 50,000 yen per person for the purpose of building a desk, chair, and Internet environment. Kaonavi has also introduced a “switch work” to secure time for childcare between work. You are allowed to decide your own time allocation according to your personal circumstances and proceed with your work. As a result, it is now possible to provide assistance not only at fixed times, but also when necessary, such as for childcare and nursing care. It is a system that has been introduced with the expectation that it can be switched on and off like a switch to maximize performance.
In this article, we introduced the merits and demerits of allowances in telework and actual introduction cases. There are many companies that have not stepped into the provision of telework allowances. In order to improve work efficiency during telework, it is necessary to maintain the motivation and health of employees, so telework allowances are considered necessary. In order to continue telework even after Corona, it is important to consider long-term improvements.