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July 6, 2020

Fujitsu to Slash Office Space by 50% As Remote Shift Becomes Permanent

Aviva puts the cost of providing office space in central London at approximately £10-15,000 per person each year

By claudia glover

­­­­­­Technology firm Fujitsu has announced that it will be cutting its office space by 50 percent over the next two years in a bid to promote a “work life shift”.

Amid a global climate of ongoing realignment around working environments, 80,000 workers will be asked to primarily work from home, the multinational said in a Japanese language release today.

“We will set up hub offices in each area nationwide that demonstrate… our latest IT systems, showcases, and collaboration with customers” Fujitsu said. “We [will] optimise our office scale 50% by 2022”.

Read This: Shopify CEO: The Office is Dead

The plan will be extended to all domestic employees this month, and will include a monthly stipend of 5000 Yen, or £37 to help staff set up their working from home environment.

Fujitsu employs approximately 130,000 globally, including 8,000 in the UK and Ireland. Computer Business Review has asked the company for comment on its plans for this region moving forward.

(Aviva estimates that providing office space costs most employers in central London approximately £10-15,000 per person each year. Downside risks for employers of entrenching the move will include exacerbating social inequality: not everybody has a convenient space in which to work remotely).

The new “work style” will enable us to “further accelerate our transformation into a DX company and continue to create innovation while improving productivity”, Fujitsu added in its Japanese release today.

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A Global Cultural Shift

This change is part of a global cultural post-pandemic shift away from fixed offices towards remote working and working from home.

NYSE-listed Shopify is among those that has emphasised that it sees the shift being permanent. As CEO Tobi Lutke put it in May: “Until recently, work happened in the office. “We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now.

He added: “The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your WFH setup

In May, Twitter announced that it would not be reopening its San Francisco offices, instead  bringing in a new “distributed workforce”, following both Google and Facebook’s recognition that they are likely to continue with teleworking at least until the end of this year.

A study conducted last month by video meeting tool Whereby found that out of 1,500 British professionals who use the platform, 82 percent of their businesses are considering allowing more staff to work remotely.

Only 17 percent feel that company-wide productivity has decreased during lockdown, while 53 percent feel that remote working has increased the overall output of their work force. Half of the employees surveyed expect to retain some of the flexibility garnered during lock down.

Yet just 13 percent want to work entirely remotely.

Just over half of the employees felt that they were expected to work more hours than before lock down and 60 percent stated that their experience of remote working has prompted them to consider changing their career.

Don’t Leave Before You’ve Read This: The Big Interview: Jason Goodall, CEO of NTT Ltd, on Managing an $11B Merger, Mid-Pandemic

 

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