The 11th SDGs cafe was planned on short notice with the theme of “Continuation Through Change? Workstyles and Remote Work in the Age of Corona.”
First, Mikiko Nagai (Office Manager at UNU-OUIK) gave an overview of the SDGs and explained the purpose of IMAGINE KANZAWA 2030. Additionally, she explained in detail two of the 17 SDGs which are directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8) and Good Health and Well-Being (Goal 3).
Our guest this time was city planning consultant Yukina Yasue, President of Research Institute of City Planning and Communication Co., Ltd., where they implemented an entirely remote work style starting from April. For this SDGs Café, Yasue collaborated with the Kanazawa IKUBOSS Company Alliance to conduct a Remote Work Emergency Survey online. Various issues with remote work were brought up, such as company structures not being compatible, work duties not being possible with remote work, and self-management being difficult. At the same time, many also expressed hope that remote work could be a catalyst for positive change in corporate culture.
Additionally, Yasue, who has had experience with creating infrastructure to allow for remote work since before corona, said that there were 5 requirements for remote work, including establishing a climate of freedom and responsibility and reconsidering what the results of one’s work mean. “It’s best to seriously think about shifting from the established norm and convention to a more ideal setup, and now is the chance to do so. It could be said that now the purpose of many organizations’ very existence is being called into question,” she continued.
Katsuya Nomizu (President’s Office Fellow, Cybozu, Inc.), originally from Kanazawa, also gave us some ideas. Cyboze, Inc. is known for being at the vanguard of workstyle reform, and they have experimented with fully remote working in the past as part of their BCP*. Starting in early March of this year, almost none of their employees were working from the office.
*What is a BCP？ A BCP, or Business Continuity Plan, is a plan to minimize the harmful effects of natural disasters or other emergencies on a business in order to ensure its continued operation and recovery.
“Sustainability isn’t about protecting tradition. Things that can change and adapt are able to survive. Right now, it is necessary to make a clear decision that a decrease in operational efficiency is unavoidable, and business managers should understand that it’s impossible to perfectly replicate how things used to be,” Nomizu explained. He went on to give some more advice about remote work, suggesting that it should start being implemented with managers, that workflows and office duties need to be made clear, and that in general employees should be given the benefit of the doubt.
This was our first attempt at a webinar, and both those running the webinar and those participating felt that the webinar format had several benefits, such as it being easy to ask questions, the slides being easy to see, and being able to participate from far away.