This time we will present “What is telework implementation support service” through an interview with Mr. Shigeki Tanaka, CEO of Mamasan&Company. He has more than 10 years of telework management experience.
We interviewed Mr. Tanaka on various topics related to telework, such as the story of how Mamasan&Company became one of the professional telework organizations, his passion as a telework implementation support consultant, and advice to clients who are thinking to adopt telework or having trouble implementing telework in their business. There are still issues to be solved, but adopting telework is an effective method to reduce costs, streamline processes, and increase productivity. We hope that this interview provides you with knowledge of how to implement telework correctly and help you with introducing telework in a better way.
More than 10 years of telework management experience! Overview of Mamasan&Company Inc.
These days business outsourcing has become a common practice, and we see many outsourcing companies with a variety of services. Mamasan&Company is one of those, and we asked Mr. Tanaka for a description of his business and its features.
BPO service provider that supports client business
The main business that we, Mamasan&Company, provide is Business Process Outsourcing service, so called BPO. With our experienced and skilled workers, who undertake business processes such as back-office operations, system development, marketing, and so on, we bring about improvement of quality and cost reduction for our clients.
Our services include a visualization of business process service, back office BPO service , call center service, E-commerce site operation service, system development service, design service, platform service and telework implementation support service. We do our best to fulfill our clients’ needs in various ways.
Organization made up of teleworkers
One of the big features of Mamasan&Company is that teleworkers are the key players in managing the organization and proactively controlling the operations. In our firm, teleworkers are not only operators but also valuable team members who can take part in business operations.
We have about 450 staff in Mamasan&Company now, and nearly 90% of them are teleworking. Therefore, our approach to the BPO business structure is focused on work styles of teleworkers, and we have abundant experience in telework operation.
Telework implementation support service
Because Mamasan&Company has been undertaking telework BPO since 2008, we can show you how to introduce telework smoothly and operate it efficiently. Especially due to COVID-19 these days, we get many queries regarding telework implementation. We provide a coaching service as a part of telework implementation support service for clients who have troubles, such as the operational method of necessary system infrastructures, pros and cons based on the Labor Standards Act, employment management, and so forth.
Reasons to implement telework arrangement
What were the circumstances in which Mamasan&Company adopted telework arrangement at the time of founding? Please tell us the reasons and the backgrounds with choosing telework.
Work efficiency was necessary to allow downsizing
It started in 2008 when the financial crisis occurred. In the same year, Mamasan&Company was founded.
First of all, the reason we implemented telework was not to follow the global trend in valuing employee’s working styles and diversity. At that time, we were undertaking a temp agency project. The project’s goal was to improve business performance, and one of the tasks was to cut employment. Because of the layoffs, increasing productivity and efficiency became necessary to compensate for the decreased labor force.
Keep the business running by increasing productivity
We took various measures to improve business, such as cutting employment, selling off subsidiary companies, and closing some business divisions. Layoffs were necessary, but of course the amount of work remained. In order to keep the business running and increase productivity, we gathered teleworkers and established the telework arrangement. This was the start of our BPO business and Mamasan&Company.
We are the first to offer this in Japan! What is telework implementation support service?
There are two sides to implementing telework in general; one of them is to prepare an environment for telework, including systems and tools. Another side is to establish rules for operating telework and to create an organization for the employees to telework.
Please tell us about “telework implementation support service” by Mamasan&Company which provides assistance for the two sides of implementing telework.
Support service for the initial implementation of telework
One of the services of telework implementation support is to introduce a system. We support and provide consultation for selecting the right system and the initial settings. In some cases, we also rent the infrastructure system for telework which we actually utilize in our company.
Some specific tools such as tools for remote access, communication, information sharing, and labor management are necessary for telework. We propose these based on clients’ needs and assist clients in setting them up.
Support service to establish operation rules
Compared to outsourcing, applying telework for full-time employees requires that a company obey the Labor Standards Act and properly perform labor management. Also, it is necessary for the company to control the work of its employees.
In this respect, Mamasan&Company has accumulated experience in telework operations for over 10 years since 2008. Also, we have an office of labor and social security attorneys in our group. Therefore, we can offer clients appropriate advice on establishing rules for their telework operation.
Support service for practical operation
The most used service of Mamasan&Company is a support service for practical operations. As our staff are fully-experienced teleworkers, we can remotely offer coaching on how to build an organization, communicate on a daily basis, and manage employees to improve productivity.
Especially, daily communication mainly takes place in a chat tool, and online meetings are held if necessary. Many clients are concerned if it is possible to fully communicate via messages and if the quality can be maintained at the same level as the communication in offices.
We offer coaching services by attending our clients’ telework environments day after day and understanding their concerns.
Considering to implementing telework? Leave it to Mamasan&Company!
30% cost reduction and productivity improvement by telework?
Telework holds many problems such as labor management, business control, communication among employees, and so on. Some employers might feel anxious to implement telework under such circumstances and cannot be optimistic for the improvement of productivity. Is it really possible to reduce costs by the implementation of telework?
Approved effectiveness of telework
The restructuring project, which triggered the foundation of Mamasan&Company, was to lay off about 30 out of 150 employees who were working for a company generating 2billion yen annual sales and also to implement telework for some of the employees. Due to this restructuring, we achieved a 40million yen annual reduction only in labor costs.
It is true that telework has been pushed due to COVID-19 and work style reform. However, we think it is meaningless to implement telework without an accompanying improvement in productivity. Therefore, the telework coaching service that Mamasan&Company offers places an emphasis on reducing the wasteful tasks and improving productivity.
Target is a 30% cost reduction
The telework coaching service which began 3 years ago is a support service which has a first target of “reducing 30% of the cost of the current situation”. We are pleased to say that our clients who use our telework implementation support or BPO services have acknowledged an annual cost reduction of more than a 30% compared to before implementation.
Also a notion which is common among clients who are consulting with us is, they think it is necessary to promote telework sooner or later as a precaution for emergency situations or to secure manpower for the future. On the contrary, they are often doubtful that telework implementation enables them to improve productivity. As most of them have never implemented telework, the effects after implementation may be unknown territory. Indeed, to implement telework, initial investment is required to develop infrastructure for remote working and to improve the workflow. In consideration of these reasons, many clients think that a decrease in productivity is inevitable.
There are several factors why not every company can improve productivity even with implementation of telework.. I will explain the details of these factors later, but any company can improve productivity to a varying degree if they implement telework correctly by removing these factors.
Tasks in which we can see the effect of telework
Tasks that are likely to have most of the benefits of productivity improvement by implementing telework are those whose labor costs are sales costs. More specifically, call centers and system development tasks apply to this category. The second tasks that get results with telework are back-office divisions, such as accounting or general affairs departments.
Factors that prevent you from achieving productivity improvement
A factor in which telework cannot lead to improvement of productivity is, in a word, “telework without organizational reform”. Clients worry that productivity shall decrease with telework. A decrease in productivity will occur if clients simply telework tasks without changing the current workflow or the organization structure. Promotion of telework without improving the workflow will unnecessarily increase the number of workers who work at home, thus it will also increase the initial investment cost of infrastructure development such as for systems or necessary equipment, and operational costs.
Some of you may think that it is grandiose when we say that implementation of telework brings organizational reform. However, what is required to implement telework is exactly a way of thinking applied to the actual organizational theory which takes new ideas or behavioral patterns to solve problems and evolves creatively.
The process of changing the mindset of a company, that is corporate culture, can be a big subject which we cannot avoid to improve productivity with the implementation of telework.
Advice to companies considering implementation of telework
Lastly, please give advice from Mamasan&Company regarding implementation of telework to the companies who are implementing or considering implementing telework.
Turning Adversity into Opportunity
Adversities which require change might repeatedly occur to any company as long as they are running a business. For now, it can be said that the situation which forces us to start teleworking due to the epidemic of COVID-19 and quarantine is an adversity. Even though it is a difficult adversity to confront for many companies, we should still think it is also a sort of opportunity. I would like everybody to accept it as an opportunity since carrying out an organizational reform is very hard without external pressure or a situation which obliges us to change.
Enjoy change without fear
Most companies assemble a project team to implement telework and begin to develop a system or infrastructure and prepare internal rules. This is to carry out organizational reform comprehensively. Many negative or counter opinions might be conveyed during the process. It is no wonder that the reasons “we cannot” erupt from everywhere, because this reform can turn the conventional organizational structure or workflow upside down.
Many people may have a fear of change, but I hope you would rather enjoy it and implement positive telework.