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Yahoo Japan to let employees live anywhere in country amid spread of teleworking

The logo of Yahoo Japan Corp. is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Yahoo Japan Corp. will allow its employees to live anywhere in the country starting April 1, as some 90% of them are already working remotely.

    The company announced the system change on Jan. 12. It will also ease restrictions on travel expenses and means of commuting, and will even let employees take flights when they need to go to the office. Through enhancement of its teleworking environment, it hopes to acquire highly skilled workers who will be able to choose work styles corresponding to diverse values.

    Yahoo Japan has heretofore limited its staff members' living locations to areas from which they could travel to the office and arrive by 11 a.m. when instructed. Lifting this restriction will enable them to live anywhere in the country. The company had also set the upper limit for transportation allowances at 6,500 yen (about $56) per one-way trip per day, or up to 150,000 yen (roughly $1,300) per month, but it will eliminate the upper limit for one-way travel expenses. It will also ease the restriction on means of commuting, letting employees commute by plane if the cost is within 150,000 yen per month.

    The monthly teleworking allowance will also be increased by 1,000 yen (approx. $9) to a maximum of 10,000 yen (about $89). Yahoo will also subsidize up to 5,000 yen (roughly $43) per person per month for dining with colleagues in a bid to stimulate communication within the company.

    Workers in departments handling personal and other internal information will still need to go to the office.

    Yahoo Japan first established a system allowing employees to choose their working location and environment in 2014, and introduced full-scale telework in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. As of January 2022, about 90% of the company's approximately 8,000 employees are working remotely.

    In an in-house survey, about 90% of employees said that remote work "did not affect" or "improved" their job performance. Many of them apparently highly evaluated the teleworking system. Their opinions included: "Though I had been working a reduced schedule for childrearing and nursing care, I became able to work full-time," "The time I could spend with family increased," and "My time for self-development increased because I spent less time commuting."

    President Kentaro Kawabe commented: "We think it's important to encourage employees to express their ideas more freely and exhibit rich creativity to deliver more convenient and innovative services. We'd like to build up continual improvements to develop new work styles in the new normal era and to further foster a culture in which employees can voluntarily tackle various challenges."

    (Japanese original by Hiroki Masuda, Digital News Center)

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