Honda nudges employees to return to office

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Honda’s logo

Beginning Thursday, Honda Motor Co. will seek to have 70% of its employees work at the office, up from the current 30%, according to sources.

As the novel coronavirus situation in Japan has stabilized in recent months, the automaker decided to fundamentally resume conducting many work duties in person.

Employees will basically work at the office in principle, but working from home will be possible if the company decides this is necessary, the sources said.

New recruits will work at their assigned department for one to six months so they can get up to speed on their new jobs as quickly as possible. During this period, senior employees who mentor these new workers also will be required to come to the office, sources said.

The automaker will still flexibly allow full-time employees to work from home in certain circumstances, such as when they are raising small children or taking care of elderly relatives. Honda will handle such cases based on the situation of the individual employee.

Honda insists the “office attendance rate” is only a “guide,” and each department will flexibly consider the best way for workers to perform their duties.

The company has provided notice to some employees, calling on them not to work at home at a level that significantly exceeds the attendance target without first consulting with management. Honda apparently decided that having many employees work too frequently from home hampered some work operations.

As an emergency response to the coronavirus crisis, Honda had its employees telecommute in principle from April 2020, except at plants and other locations where working from home was not feasible.

The percentage of employees coming into the office has gradually increased since then. Between the start of 2021 and November, the average employee attendance rate was 34% at Honda’s offices in the Tokyo metropolitan area.