Here’s How the Japanese Manage Their Work-Life Balance During the New Normal

How did the new setup change the Japanese time?

How do remote workers spend their time? 
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Now that a lot of people are experiencing a new lifestyle due to the new coronavirus, how much has the Japanese time-consciousness changed? According to a survey, 80% of consumers felt that they experienced a change in lifestyle wherein 3 out of 4 remote workers feel that they do not have a good work-life balance.


74.7% of remote workers responded with “dividing work and personal life is starting to get difficult”


This year,
Seiko Holdings, which has been publishing the Seiko Time White Paper since 2017, conducted another survey on awareness and actual conditions of the time in accordance with the Time Memorial Day on June 10. Respondents are composed of 1,200 male and female consumers with ages 10 to 69 in Japan. Time Memorial Day was established as a reminder to be punctual to make daily life reasonable. Since it is on its 100th year anniversary, a survey on Japanese punctuality culture was conducted.


Were there changes in your work and lifestyle since the outbreak of the new Coronavirus?


First, when asked if there were changes in their work and lifestyle since the outbreak of the new Coronavirus, 83.1% of respondents answered “Yes, there were changes.” Whether they are working (83.4%) or non-working (82.6%), the number of people who felt a shift in their lifestyle are almost the same. Among the working respondents, most remote workers (94.1%) answered that there were changes in their work and lifestyle. It seems like they felt a greater degree of change than non-remote workers.


Next is a portion on time management due to different working styles. When asked about their recent experience on work-life balance, 68.8% of all respondents and 74.7% of remote workers answered “It is difficult to maintain work-life balance.” suggesting that many are struggling with the stay-at-home lifestyle. In addition, when asked about how fast time passes when working, 30.7% of working respondents and 43.5% or almost 1 out of every 2 remote workers answered “It feels faster than normal.” By working from home, remote workers may be spending long hours with vague boundaries between work and rest.


Almost 1 in 2 people feel that time passes by faster when working.


In the survey, there was a portion for daily activities, such as meeting up with others. When asked how they meet with friends, 68.9% of respondents answered “by setting the meeting time and place in advance”, which highlights the Japanese culture of strictness on time.


“By setting exact meeting time and place” is the majority for all age groups but for the people in their 20’s, 39.0% or 2 out of 5 people answered, “by setting a meeting time and place roughly and adjusting through LINE while on the way”. The way people meet up with friends is showing signs of change from the younger generation.

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2 in 5 people in their 20’s are flexible when it comes to meeting time and place.


Nowadays, instead of deciding the details strictly beforehand, it has become the era of flexibility. In the survey, the majority of respondents revealed they multitask during their lunch breaks on weekdays. Just like meeting up with friends, the rationality and efficiency of time is becoming a priority in many ways.


During lunch breaks, which averages 49.9 minutes per day, 20.7 minutes are spent on meals, 15.7 minutes are spent on watching TV, 10.2 minutes are spent on social media, adding up to a total of 88.7 minutes including all the other activities. The only way to explain this is that people multitask to fit 90 minutes’ worth of activities within a 50-minute time period. With the advancement of technology, the way people use their time also changes.


Weekday lunch breaks are spent multitasking.


How to deal with “time in the new normal” according to Professor Makoto Ichikawa, a time studies professor


In light of the new coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people had to reconsider how they use their time as the 2 classifications of its usage, the public and personal time, became apparent. However, the recent trend of online drinking where you can join and leave anytime you want and meeting up with friends through LINE where, as revealed in the survey, you can adjust the time and place, it is not hard to believe that new technology and various devices will continue to be a reliable partner for all of us.


Based on the results of the survey,
Professor Makoto Ichikawa, who advocates a psychological approach to time studies, commented, “It may be a great chance to think about how things are being affected from the time perspective, such as what we can do to turn this disaster into an opportunity and how public time and personal time will change after Corona.” Regarding the lack of work-life balance among remote workers, “Try to add shades to your tasks. Make time to collaborate with other people through web conferences, drink tea and rest properly when tired, and listen to your favorite music to set your mood for the work day. Please understand that everyone’s rhythm is different, so try whatever you think may work for you to make your own rhythm,” he advised.


Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (15 June 2020)


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