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Hitachi staff only required to come to office 2-3 days a week

Post-pandemic rules to ditch physical stamps and offer $28 face mask support

A Hitachi personnel manager holds an online information session with college students in March. (Photo by Takeshi Hashimoto)

TOKYO -- Hitachi looks to review its work policies to enable employees come to the office just two to three days a week, even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

The industrial conglomerate announced a set of policies Tuesday to encourage telecommuting, as it joins a growing list of Japanese companies prioritizing results over hours spent at the office.

The policies apply to about 70% of its domestic work force, or roughly 23,000 employees.

To keep productivity high, the company will assess performance based on results rather than hours worked. This will be evaluated using a defined job description for each position -- something that is not the norm in Japanese workplaces.

Hitachi has begun phasing in such a system for managers. It plans a full rollout next April after discussion with labor unions.

The company will also adjust rules regarding meetings and signing off on documents with physical stamps to reduce the need for workers to go to the office.

Most Hitachi employees have been working from home since the government imposed a nationwide state of emergency April 16. The all-remote policy is set to continue through the end of July.

Hitachi also will pay 3,000 yen ($28) per month to all employees starting in June to cover costs including higher home energy bills as well as face masks and sanitizer for trips to the office. It will subsidize purchases of equipment such as computer monitors, wireless routers and desks.

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