The traditional Japanese working system is built upon a lifelong commitment to a single company. Historically, Japanese employees would join a company, put in long and intensive hours to support its success, and dedicate their entire careers to it, reflecting a profound sense of duty and loyalty towards the employer.
While this remains true for many Japanese workers, who view quitting as a betrayal, a global survey on attitudes toward work showed that this feeling is becoming increasingly rare. Job changes have become more common, not only among young workers but also among older ones; in 2021, 40% of job changes were made by workers aged 45 or older (compared to 31% in 2012). The rising number of job changes is also due to the increasing number of companies now offering time and/or performance-based contracts to their employees.
A departure from tradition can also be seen in the new and diverse work arrangements offered to employees. In an attempt to attract more individuals to join civil service, the government is considering the introduction of a four-day workweek for central government staff. Some companies have begun offering new gadgets and furniture to encourage employees to take naps during working hours, while others permit employees to take a “Gaming day off,” granting special permission to stay home from work on the release day of a popular video game.
While it might still be too early to describe this as a profound change, in general, the Japanese work environment seems to be shifting away from strict tradition towards adaptability and an improved focus on employee well-being.