Improved operational efficiency gained from Workstyle Reforms
Ms. Keiko Sasao
- Workstyle Reforms Promotion office
- Executive officer and director
Mr. Kenta Terui
- Corporate Planning office
- Information system division
JDC Corporation was established in 1951 for the purpose of mechanizing civil engineering projects for the reconstruction and development of land in postwar Japan. Afterward, by continuing to further innovation alongside Japan's high economic growth, it has grown to be the current general construction company. Today, while JDC provides a wide range of construction services from large-scale development, such as transportation and ports and harbors, including reinforcement of the Hamana Bridge, to constructions of leisure facilities and apartments, such as Pressance Legend Sakaisuji-honmachi, they are also committed to reconstruction efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake as a contribution to reconstruction, the origin of the company. They also focus on developing technology to reduce environmental burdens based on their management philosophy of contributing to a prosperous society. JDC is actively committed to workstyle reforms for employees to be able to secure time to engage in business to create new value. We asked JDC about their objectives, background, and engagement in such reforms.
JDC implemented their telework system in November 2018 for all employees, including the head office, branch offices, and fieldworkers. Employees are provided with mobile computers and those who wish are allowed to telework roughly twice a week with permission from their supervisors. We visited the company in October 2018, immediately before the telework system was implemented across the company, and asked Executive Officer Keiko Sasao from the Workstyle Reforms Promotion Office and Kenta Terui from Information System Division in the Corporate Planning Office about the background and details of the project.
‘Using Splashtop for CACHATTO, telework is currently implemented to some employees on a trial basis. As for other employees, we are fully deploying telework from November by providing a company-wide telework environment that allows for outside access to inside resources. Since the system will cover the entire company, it will be implemented to not only employees working at the head office but also those who are serving as field supervisors at construction sites’, said Terui. Splashtop for CACHATTO is one of CACHATTO’s optional functions, a secure remote desktop service run on CACHATTO authentication infrastructure. Using this function, we tested the environment that allows for outside access to internal computers for the implementation of a telework system.
‘The purpose of implementing a telework environment varies a little between the head office and the field. We aim to improve work efficiency and enhance management with this telework implementation in the head office and secure time to support fieldworkers who tend to encounter long working hours. On the other hand, we aim to improve work-life balance by allowing field employees throughout Japan to work from home for paperwork- related tasks so that they can reduce travel hours and spend more time at home’, said Executive Officer Sasao.
This telework project is a part of the Workstyle Reforms based on their Diversity Policy raised since 2016. It was set out by the company president to address labour shortage, which will most likely become a serious issue in the construction industry in the future. They aim to address this issue from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives through the diversity promotion by developing an environment to increase diversity so a wide range of people can continue working.
On the quality side, they improve productivity and create additional value through Workstyle Reforms. They aim to create value with maximum performance with fewer labor resources and differentiate the company from competitors. Meanwhile on the quantitative side, they aim to promote the recruitment of young employees by improving the working environment through the workstyle reforms and develop an environment where existing workers can continue working throughout their various life events, such as childbirth, child raising, and nursing care.
They said that the reforms have proceeded at a slow pace for a little while after the policy was launched in 2016. Then, they thought that they needed to change the awareness of management to realize the reforms and therefore implemented awareness programs for management executives, which consequently accelerated the reforms. It was Executive Officer Sasao who was at the time a lecturer invited to the company from outside. At the same time, younger employees formed a project in which Terui also participated, and continued discussing telework to promote the reforms.
The workgroup members including Terui paid attention to workstyle reform by telework, which had gathered public attention at the time, and explored the feasibility. It was Splashtop for CACHATTO that was selected as a telework tool.
‘We took Splashtop for CACHATTO into consideration as our telework tool because we have already implemented CACHATTO for viewing emails and schedules from outside the company. It was also appealing that CACHATTO’s security concept as is was able to be easily introduced as an option and we decided to use it on a trial basis on Telework Day, July 24, 2017’, said Terui.
Despite the limited time frame and number of staff available for the project before Telework Day, around 10 staff members were able to test the telework system on the day of because the implementation of Splashtop for CACHATTO was significantly easy.
‘After Telework Day, all the members continued using the system. Employees from the Information System Department used it for maintenance work from outside the company; an employee coming back from maternity leave used it while caring for a child at home, and employees from the Design Department used it for viewing and creating CAD files from outside the company. We allow employees to not only use tablets provided by the company but also their private computers at home. We were told by fieldworkers that although they felt remote desktop solutions from other companies were slow, the performance of Splashtop for CACHATTO was very high and they were able to use it with no stress especially when operating 2D CAD.
We also highly evaluate CACHATTO from a security point of view due to the screen capture prevention function’, said Terui.
Aiming to promote wider acceptance of workstyle reforms in the company, the Workstyle Reforms Promotion Office was established in May 2018, inviting Executive Officer Sasao.
‘We planned to set Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement as the theme at first. However, while listening to other departments, various other issues emerged. Workstyle reforms-related management of supervisors and subordinates, health problems caused by aging employees, and long working hours issues are part of it’, said Executive Officer Sasao.
At the time, Terui was aiming to implement another larger-scale telework toward the second Telework Day. Since the scale was larger, other departments, including the recently established Workstyle Reforms Office, General Affairs, and Corporate Planning departments were also involved in the project this time.
‘To undertake the extensive project, we needed to develop rules and drive recognition of them. We conducted a survey after the project and aimed to position it as a test case to realise full-fledged company-wide implementation of telework’, said Executive Officer Sasao.
They not only developed rules for labor management but also provided lectures on auditing and reviewing tasks and how to report to supervisors. Then, they implemented the project, where more than 180 employees teleworked for five days from July 23, 2018.
We asked about the results on the user questionnaire on what the response of field workers was like after the five-day test telework implementation.
‘The response was generally favorable, and at the same time, various specific issues were revealed through telework being actually conducted. The following opinions especially were given by many people’, said Terui, Workstyle reforms-related management of supervisors and subordinates, health problems caused by aging employees, and long working hours issues are part of it’, said Executive Officer Sasao.
- We need to identify which tasks are and are not suited for telework.
- Telework cannot be introduced to operations which have not gone paperless.
- Operations that require high computer specifications and multiple displays cannot be sufficiently performed on private computers only.
- Evaluation flow and cooperation flow between supervisors and subordinates need improvement.
- It is difficult to evaluate performance during telework.
‘Solving such issues helps develop a company-wide telework environment but also improves operational efficiency. Since there are many employees who want to telework, we think that a significant advantage of this engagement is to improve operational efficiency with an aim of promoting telework’, said Executive Officer Sasao.
In response to this result, the Workstyle Reforms Office implemented training sessions in November to solve the issues toward the full implementation of teleworking across the company.
‘We found that we can improve operational efficiency through the telework implementation project. We think it will generate further benefits throughout the company by extending it across the company and improving the telework environment. For example, many employees are now faced with the problem of nursing care for their aging parents. In such cases, it is favorable for both the company and employees that they don’t need to choose to leave and are able to continue working for the company’, said Executive Officer Sasao.
‘When needing to use private computers or using large files, we are thinking of using Splashtop for CACHATTO, which supports screen transfer and does not leave data on devices’, said Terui.
Although the company’s workstyle reforms project has just been launched, it appears that those two are already seeing the company’s future― of being a strong and great company that provides new values to society through such efforts.