Over 1,000 companies are thinking of adopting telecommuting during the Olympics and Paralympics this summer to help ease traffic congestion, according to a survey by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
With the Olympics expected to attract some 10 million spectators from home and abroad, measures to ease traffic jams are seen as a key to making them a success.
During the London Olympics in 2012, about 80 percent of businesses in the British capital made use of telecommuting, leading to an improvement in productivity that later came to be recognized as a legacy of the event, people familiar with the matter said.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike reported the results of the survey to a recent meeting of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She said the survey covered around 2,400 companies, of which 44 percent said they are considering the use of telecommuting during the games.
“We hope that the proportion of companies actually introducing telework during the games will reach at least 44 percent, while the figure of 80 percent seen in the London Games would be difficult to achieve,” Koike said.
Some companies, including Daiwa House Industry Co., started testing telecommuting earlier this month.
The major home builder plans to allow some 3,000 employees in Tokyo’s 23 wards to telecommute during the Olympics.
A Daiwa House employee in her 30s who took part in the trial in mid-January cited an advantage of the system, saying, “I could use the commuting time that I saved for doing household chores.”
Meanwhile, a male employee in his 50s said, “It is difficult to fully understand the work situation at my division” during telecommuting.
The company said it will resolve issues identified during the test period in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.