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Internal Affairs Ministry begins testing out teleworking from satellite offices

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications was set to begin testing out having employees telework from satellite offices on Nov. 29, in the first example of Japanese central government employees teleworking from such facilities.

    Teleworking, or working remotely using technology, is an important part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy to revamp the way Japanese work. The three types of telework are: work at home, work at facilities like shared offices, and "mobile work" using technology like smartphones to allow employees to work anywhere. For example, until now in order to keep some employees from having to stay at their head offices until late at night preparing National Diet responses for Cabinet ministers, ministries and agencies have allowed teleworking, but only from home. However, a ministry official says, "The home is not always conducive to concentrating on work."

    The ministry is also planning that employees will be able to continue their work at a satellite office when a trip within the metropolitan area takes them far from the main ministry office. Using private sector shared office space, the test will extend through March next year and be used to check if teleworking improves efficiency.

    The ministry will use shared office space set up by Tokyu Corp. along its railway lines. Until now, apart from the home, the locations imagined as places where teleworking could be carried out were cafes, etc. and there was concern about employees' work being seen by others at these locations. If shared offices are used, however, this security problem is solved, and video conferences with the main office will also be possible, the ministry says.

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