Corporate and Workplace Challenges for Work-Life Balance

Author Name TAKEISHI Emiko  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. March 2011 11-J-029
Research Project International Comparison of Measures to Improve Work-Life Balance and Consideration of Challenges Facing Japanese Companies
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As exemplified by the long working hours, it is well known that the working style of Japanese workers makes it difficult to harmonize work and personal life. On the basis of the current situation, the purpose of this study is to clarify the challenges—particularly in corporate-level and workplace-level—seen while aiming to achieve a work-life balance for employees in Japan. In the study, we compared the working situation, workers' perceptions of their working style, and workplace performance evaluations (workers' subjective indicators) among Japanese workers with workers in the United Kingdom and Germany, paying attention to the dual aspects of formal work-life balance policies and benefits at corporations and the characteristics of informal workplace management as influencing factors. When a corporation engages with policies and benefits of work-life balance, there is a tendency to focus on the introduction of benefits, but in order to achieve work-life balance for the individual while maintaining workplace performance, it is clear that in addition to the introduction of benefits, the factors of work and workplace characteristics are important. In addition to improvement working hour situations, it is important to prepare a workplace environment where the individuals can work at their own discretion. Preparing such a workplace environment is closely tied to the workplace management style, and it requires more support than ever for the managerial staff whose responsibility it is to manage the workplace.