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COVID-19 and mandatory teleworking from home in Japan: taking stock to improve satisfaction and job performance

Remy Magnier-Watanabe (Graduate School of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo, Japan)
Caroline Benton (Graduate School of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo, Japan)
Philippe Orsini (Faculty of Economics, Nihon Daigaku, Tokyo, Japan)
Toru Uchida (Faculty of Information Studies, Niigata University of International and Information Studies, Niigata, Japan)
Kaoruko Magnier-Watanabe (Harvard Extension School, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 11 April 2022

Issue publication date: 7 November 2023




This exploratory paper aims to examine attitudes and practices with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the effects of mandatory teleworking from home in the wake of the first state of emergency orders in Japan in 2020.


An online survey of married employees retrospectively assessed changes in work style, subjective well-being, work–family conflict and job performance before and during forced teleworking from home in Tokyo and three of the surrounding prefectures.


Regular employees reported high levels of anxiety and to have thoroughly implemented government-recommended hygiene and safety practices. A majority of respondents were satisfied with mandatory telework from home and desired to continue partial telework after the end of the pandemic. The strongest predictor of satisfaction with mandatory telework from home turned out to be adequate workspace at home for both men and women. However, the antecedents of the desire to continue working from home differed by gender.

Practical implications

These findings can help individuals, firms and governments better understand the effects of mandatory teleworking from home and devise countermeasures to maximize employee well-being and job performance. This is all the more crucial, as Japan has had successive waves of the virus and has declared numerous states of emergency since the beginning of the pandemic, forcing office workers to continue social distancing and remote working for the time being.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this research is one of the first to provide insights on how imposed teleworking from home in the context of COVID-19 in Japan affected regular employees’ personal and professional lives and to identify predictors of satisfaction with teleworking and the desire to continue doing so.



The authors would like to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for their time and constructive suggestions and comments.

Funding: This work was supported by a research grant from the University of Tsukuba’s Program to Apply the Wisdom of the University to tackle COVID-19 Related Emergency Problems and by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI #21K01696).


Magnier-Watanabe, R., Benton, C., Orsini, P., Uchida, T. and Magnier-Watanabe, K. (2023), "COVID-19 and mandatory teleworking from home in Japan: taking stock to improve satisfaction and job performance", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 2252-2279.



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