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60.4% of companies are working on work style reform

- “Introduction of satellite office and work from home,” and “Approval for second jobs”rank high for future initiatives -

A “work style reform law” was enacted on April 1, 2019. This law will be applied to SMEs in some fields from April 2020, and the scope of its application will be expanded gradually. Companies are required to realize diverse and flexible work styles, ensure fair treatment, and also address elimination of labor shortage and productivity improvement. Therefore, it is believed that the importance of work style reform will increase in future corporate activities.

Teikoku Databank has conducted a survey of the status of corporate initiatives and views about work style reform. This survey was conducted in conjunction with the December 2019 TDB Trends Research.

* *Survey period: December 16, 2019 – January 6, 2020, Companies Surveyed: 23,652, Valid Responses: 10,292 (Response Rate: 43.5%).

*Details of this survey can be found on the dedicated Economic Trend Survey HP. (

Survey results (Summary)

1. With respect to the status of corporate initiatives to reform work style, 60.4% of companies are “working on this,” up 22.9 points from the last survey (in August 2018). By combining it with those saying “they are not working on it at present, but will do so in the future” (16.3%), 76.7% of companies are positive about such initiatives. Conversely, 2.0% of companies “used to work on this, but currently do not.” Those saying “no plan to work on this” stand at 8.9%.

2. Specific initiatives taken are “promotion to take holidays,” ranked top at 77.2%, followed by “reducing long working hours” at 71%, which are notably high. These are followed by “development of human resources” (49.6%), “enhanced health management” (45.9%), “creation of workplace culture, improvement of awareness, communication activation” (44.7%), “introduction of IT equipment, and a system to streamline and enhance efficiency of business affairs” (43.6%).

3. For future initiatives, “introduction of satellite office and work from home” (23.6%) showed the highest percentage, followed by “approval for second jobs” (22.5%). Both were below 10% in terms of current initiatives, but this indicates companies are considering their introduction in the future.

4. The most emphasized purposes of the initiatives are “improvement of employees’ motivation,” ranked top at 32.4%, followed by the highly ranked “retention of human resources” (20.2%), and “productivity enhancement” (13.5%). “Physical and mental health of employees” (11.4%) followed. A tendency was seen for companies to put importance on the impact on employees.

5. Reasons for not working on this are “do not feel the need,” with the highest percentage (34.2%), followed by “cannot expect an effect” (25.4%), and “cannot manage due to labor shortage and busy business” (22.4%), which continue to rank highly.


1.Research Subjects(Companies researched: 23,652; Valid responses: 10,292; Response rate: 43.5%)

2.Research Items *Business Confidence (current, in 3 months, in 6 months, in 1 year) *Business Conditions (sales, purchasing and selling unit price, inventory, capacity utilization ratio, number of employees, overtime work hours)

3.Research Period and Methodology Internet-based survey conducted December 16 2019 – January 6 2020

The explanation of the Economic Diffusion Index

Research Purpose/Researched Terms TDB Economic Trend Research (started from May 2002) is a monthly statistical survey conducted for over 20,000 nationwide corporations on their general business activities including the current condition and future outlook of the industry business performance and operating climate. The primary purpose of such a survey is to assess the current state of Japan’s economy.

Selection of the Subject Corporations Companies of all sizes in all domestic industries are eligible to participate in the survey.

DI Calculation The DI(Diffusion Index)is calculated by multiplying the number of responses for each assessment category by the number given in parentheses in the table below, to a seven-level assessment rated by companies.

An economic DI of 50 is the point separating good and bad, so a DI over 50 means “good,” and below 50 means “bad.” (The numbers are rounded off to one decimal place.) No weight is given according to a company's size, and calculations are made on the basis of “one company, one vote.”

Size Classification

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