Toyota Motor Co. is now telling eligible employees that they can work from home permanently as the company looks at ways to keep employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The move, which was reported by Nippon News, by the Japanese automaker makes it the first to make these efforts permanent rather than “until further notice,” which has been the case at many companies. As of now, many white-collar workers are expected to remain home until fall.
The company had planned to follow that blueprint as well; however, upon further review, Toyota officials found that employees who have been working from home have been more productive than when they were in the office.
Some of that, according to the report, is due to the elimination of their commute. The employees eligible to take advantage of the plan include clerical and engineering staffers as well as those caring for children or elderly parents.
Toyota executives said they hoped the plan, which begins in September, will provide a better work-life balance for those who take advantage of it.
The automaker is the first to implement a plan that some auto executives have been hinting around at for a few weeks now, although until now, no company had committed to the idea. Ford may have been the closest prior Toyota’s move.
Last month, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker gave salaried personnel working from home already the option to stay there until 2021.
The automaker has about 30,000 employees who are currently working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company – and general public – is grappling with how much exposure to people is too much, but with so much already being done remotely, it made it simpler to give employees the choice to return to their offices or work from home.
Depending upon the environment, the offer to work from home could even be extended beyond New Year’s Eve. The determination about allowing employees to work remotely isn’t all about productivity either.
That flexibility could save the company some money in the long term, if they discover that there is a large number of people who would prefer working from home and can do so without it impacting the company’s overall operations. This could mean less need for office space. If enough people stay home, teams could be consolidated – in terms of space – requiring fewer offices and, perhaps, even fewer buildings, lowering costs.