Commuting on packed trains and spending hours in a confined office space are akin to a nightmare in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To protect employees from such high-risk environments, firms nationwide have been scrambling to enable them to work remotely. A survey conducted by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier this month showed that 54.7 percent of large corporations with capital of ¥300 million or more in the prefecture are now implementing telework.

But remote work remains off-limits for many — in particular those engaged in occupations that by nature require their physical presence in the workplace, such as cooks, hairdressers, taxi drivers and doctors.