In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governments, citizens, public and private sectors, have sought to implement different initiatives in order to curb the spread of the virus. This has on one hand resulted in an encouragement teleworking and on the other has put a strain on the supply chain and market economy.
A New IT Challenge
The world situation has presented Japan with a new stance as an alternative to the Japanese work ethic, that values physical presence and endurance of long hours, namely the work from home - teleworking.
To avoid rush hour commute and congested offices, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has called for more companies to set up remote work protocols. Governor Koike has set forth a new course to increase productivity and efficiency, and additionally to balance professional and family life of workers, which eventually could heighten autonomy of the individual, empowering self organisation, as well as savings on travel cost and time optimisation, and allowing integration of people with disabilities.
Panasonic, Mitsubishi and NEC are among the growing number of firms that have mandated or recommended remote work. Currently 13% of employees across Japan telecommute, however for many in Japan remote work is not an option, as their presence is needed and the mindset reads; work won't be done, or, it would cause bothers to others. Furthermore, this opportunity to change Japan's corporate culture, might prove difficult as most IT infrastructure do not yet support teleworking due to lack of acces to laptops or strict security protocols.
However, testing the abilities of the country and corporations to embrace a more flexible work style, may open the door for new attitudes and pave the way for new technologies; as concerns relating to cyber security rises, new ideas must surface. In these times, laptops are becoming high in demand.
In future events, such as when annual typhoon strikes, and employees are required to turn up at the office, a more flexible work-culture, with the option of teleworking, would not put the employee at risk. In the midst of a pandemic, a work-style reform might see the light of day.
Supply Chain - Keep your business moving
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, various industries are facing challenges along their supply chain, as the spread of the virus has instigated lockdowns within and beyond China, it is having a major impact on the logistics industry, among others. To keep business flowing, companies have been taking their measures.
As private and public sectors might suffer from supply chain constraints, Logistic Company Maersk have, as read from their site, sought to assemble alternative logistics solutions to meet costumers urgent shipping needs.
To protect staff and limit the spread, DHI (Danish Hydraulic Institute) tells, they has relied on IT infrastructure to keep up with the increased load of remote connections, and it has allowed them to ensure continuity in their daily operations.
To manage supply chain risk and disruption, Deloitte has compiled a piece on how to transform the traditional supply chain model. Their piece highlights short-term actions companies can take to respond to business disruption and supply chain challenges from the global spread of COVID-19. Moreover, it looks ahead to the longer-term solution of digital supply networks.
Denmark remains open for business
Though Denmark has implemented border control, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod, has stated that: "The borders will remain open for persons commissioned to provide goods or services in Denmark and trucks will be able to cross the border into and out of Denmark."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs further reads: "Freight transport will be able to access Denmark in order to not disrupt the necessary supply chains including food supply, as well as to maintain Denmark's imports and exports of goods and services from and to other countries that is important to uphold the Danish economy."
As Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced; starting on March 13rd Denmark would be in a national lockdown. As of today (March 25th) the lockdown will continue until April 13th. For more information please check The Embassy of Denmark in Japan’s facebook page, as they regularly post updates concerning and covering the COVID-19 situation in Denmark, relating to trade, guidance and citizen initiatives.
For coverage of the COVID-19 situation in Japan for English readers, please visit NHK's sub-site.