#Series 41
“WAA-Work from Anywhere and Anytime at Unilever”

VIDEO: Before session (Part 1)

Before we started the session at Unilever, I interviewed Ms Yuka Shimada, Member of the board of Unilever Japan and Head HR in Japanese and English about the topic of the session, WAA-Work from Anywhere Anytime, new initiative at Unilever.

VIDEO: Opening (Part 2)

I started the session by explaining the background of the topic- new work style which is now “in fashion” and our relationships with Unilever Japan. After some remarks by Mr. Kitajima of Unilever, I introduced the speaker, Ms. Shimada.
Right before her presentation of WAA at Unilever, I threw a question to the participants. “If you can work at anywhere anytime, do you take it?” Majority responded Yes, and there were a few who responded No. We asked those who said No about their reasons.
From 7 minutes on, Ms. Shimada explained the background and details-including how WAA has evolved and how it has been received and modified in the past several months since it was launched in July. She shared with us the result of the WAA initiative- overtime hours, productivity, etc.
She took questions at the end for 10 minutes and we had many. It was quite interesting to find out that it took almost 2 years since they announced the plan to the full launch in July via pilot. They worked on the issues which surfaced during the pilot and they are still in the process of improving it.

VIDEO: Presentations (Part 3)

We divided the participants into two groups-one working on individuals and the other for organizations, – to identify/explore advantages and disadvantages of WAA and we asked two groups each to report back their discussion results in the first 12 minutes or so. Brief summary of breakout group discussions will be post on our face book group page.
Then I explained the shift from 3 stage life of school-work-retire to multi-stage lifestyle, referring to the book “100-year life.” I also explained the multiple-career life rather than single career, and the rise of “independent producers.” What I emphasized is that the 21st century is the era of individuals, rather than organizations, and the choice by individuals becomes critical. WAA is a good step toward this type of career and lifestyle where individual can design their own career and life style.
At the end, I shared my impression of the new book, “100-year life” by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott and my hope that this session on WAA becomes a good first step toward designing our career and life style.

VIDEO: After session (Part 4)

I interviewed two people, the first, Keio student who is in Japan for some time as exchange student and two Japanese people, all the first time participants of this series. The first was done in English and the second with two Japanese done in Japanese and English. They shared their impression and how they found the discussion in breakout sessions. I asked about their work style at their companies.

#Session 41 “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series
October 7, 2016
“WAA-Work from Anywhere and Anytime at Unilever”

Exactly a year ago, we had the session#30 (http://dex.tokyo/session-30/) of Davos Experience in Tokyo series at Unilever Japan Headquarters in Nakameguro. The topic at the session was “Sustainability and Business” featuring Unilever’s global initiatives for sustainability. After hearing their efforts to address the issue of sustainability defined broadly, we brainstormed what we can do as consumers to join the initiatives to attain sustainability.

What I found unique and different at the last session was that sustainability for Unilever included that of “people”.

At session #41 on October 7, we will explore “people” aspect more by featuring their new human resources system, WAA (Work from Anywhere and Anytime).
Under the WAA, employees can choose to work any hours between 6 am and 9 pm on weekdays as long as business needs are met, with a prior approval from their line manager. This is one of their attempt to creating a culture based on performance and results as well as facilitating better work-life balance.

Their goal is not only to improve productivity, but to help Japan become more open and relaxed. (They even have more ambitious goal, which we will hopefully hear on Oct. 7!)

Unilever has been promoting “diversity” for some time and has adopted “work from home” and “flex time” system for employees to work in their own way AND as a team with a shared goal. WAA is a step forward from their past initiatives and is one of the pioneering efforts to promote “New work style reform,” one of the pillars of Abe Administration.

Through the course of Davos Experience in Tokyo series, we have discussed “Diversity” and “Future of Jobs”. As we face new potential of working with Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, how we develop new work style and implement it is critical for the future of our society.

New system such as WAA sounds great in theory, but often is difficult to implement before the expected results are achieved. It has been three months since Unilever started this new system. Let us find out what is behind this system and how it has been received. You may find new, creative way for the future of work. The session will be held at Unilever Japan Headquarters in Nakameguro.


 今回は、「人」という側面を取り上げ、これまで「ダイバーシティ」も積極的に推進しているユニリーバの新しい取り組みである「WAA(Work from Anywhere and Anytime)」をテーマにしています。(https://www.unilever.co.jp/news/press-release/2016/WAA.html) ユニリーバでは、すべての社員が自分らしく働き、ひとつのチームとして力を発揮できるよう、日本でも在宅勤務制度やフレックスタイム制度を活用してきました。
 「Work from Anywhere and Anytime」というコンセプトは理想的ではあるのですが、なかなか実行が難しいともいわれています。なぜこの取り組みを始めたのか、導入後活用されているのか、実際にはどんなメリット、また課題があるのか、皆さんとともに考えてみませんか。このセッションは、前回と同様、ユニリーバ・ジャパン中目黒本社で開かれます。

Posted in ARCHIVES.

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