The ratio of telecommuting companies in the capital surged to 63 percent in April from 24 percent in March as the coronavirus spread, a survey by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government shows.

An increasing number of companies are introducing remote-working systems in response to the coronavirus. The metropolitan government is encouraging the trend by providing subsidies to small firms.

The survey covered randomly selected companies with at least 30 employees and received replies from about 400.

The ratio of large teleworking companies grew to 80 percent in April from 45 percent in March, according to the survey.

The ratio of midsize companies rose to 71 percent from 25 percent, while the ratio of small firms rose to 54 percent from 19 percent.

The ratio of telecommuting employees meanwhile grew to nearly 50 percent on average in April.

By industry, the remote work method had been adopted by 76 percent of companies in the information telecommunication, financial and services sectors and 55 percent of those in the construction, manufacturing and retail sectors.

The metropolitan government was initially promoting teleworking as part of efforts to ease traffic congestion during the Olympics and Paralympics, which have been postponed to summer 2021.

When the coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic in March, City Hall created a subsidy program to provide up to ¥2.5 million to help businesses buy the equipment needed to adopt telecommuting to curb the spread of the virus.

“We hope that teleworking will take root as a new work style and a countermeasure against infectious diseases,” an official in the metro government’s Industrial and Labor Affairs Bureau said.

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