Tokyo – Bosch will introduce a new home office system for office associates in Japan starting from November 1, 2015. With this, the leading global supplier of technology and services will create a more flexible and efficient work environment. "This new system allows many of our indirect associates to telecommute, reducing their commuting time and increasing the time they can spend with their families. It will therefore help to improve their work-life balance. It is also expected to produce better results by boosting job satisfaction even higher and lifting productivity", said president and representative director Udo Wolz.

Home office possible for up to 40 hours per month
Working flexibly to create a work-life balance has been possible at Bosch since the mid-1990s. In Japan, Bosch already had implemented regulations on home office system for the associates with childcare, nursing care, and illness or injury. The scope will now be widened to allow people with a certain amount of work that can be carried out at home who wish to use the system the option of telecommuting with the approval of their supervisor. Under the system, up to 40 hours per month can be worked at home, and people can either work all day or part of a day at home. Telecommuters apply to their supervisors to receive approval for their telecommuting hours and planned work by the day before the telecommuting day.

To promote diversity in gender, nationality, generation, and culture, the Bosch Group is undertaking a worldwide diversity promotion drive. As part of this initiative, the Bosch Group in Japan established a team of associates called Diversity@bosch Japan in January 2014. The participating associates from various departments conducting activities across divisional boundaries on the three themes of "Time Management," "Study of Home office," and "Child/Nurse care support." One of these, the home office study group, conducted a study of systems in place at other companies and in the Bosch Group overseas, and proposed a new system. That proposal formed the basis of a pilot project that ran for two months from February through March, 2015.

Identifying potential challenges through a pilot project
Over 50 associates from various Bosch business divisions and departments participated in the pilot project. After discussing the results of questionnaires and interviews with the associates and their supervisors, they were reflected in a final proposal for the system. The participants were 60 percent male, 40 percent female, and 30 percent of them were of management rank. As a result of the questionnaire, 83 percent of the participants and 75 percent of the participating supervisors found the system satisfactory, and 95 percent of participants and 94 percent of their supervisors responded that the efficiency of work conducted at home office was equal to or greater than work performed in the office. Some participants pointed to network speed as challenge, but this has already been addressed and measures have been taken by the information systems department. Moreover, in selecting the work to be performed at home, several ideas for improving efficiency were also submitted, and the pilot thereby functioned as an opportunity to review the overall work system.

Greater support for achieving work-life balance
Bosch Corporation introduced a refresh leave system in 1995, and has achieved an annual leave usage rate of almost 100 percent among non-management ranks. This is extremely high compared with the automobile industry average of around 80 percent and the overall national average (of major manufacturers) of around 50 percent. In addition, as part of a system to help associates achieve a work-life balance, Bosch provides more than the legally mandated amount of leave for childcare, or nursing care of children. Under law, companies are required to provide childcare leave until the child's first birthday. However, Bosch also considers the period required for children to adjust to attending daycare, and allows associates to extend childcare leave beyond the child's birthday up until the last day of the following April, or until the last day of the child's 18th month. "We do what we can to help our associates structure their work arrangements. With part-time work, and the possibility of telecommuting, mothers and fathers are given the flexibility they need to balance the demands of professional and private life. It's a win-win situation all around: for our associates, for their families, and for us as a company." said Executive Vice President and Director Morikawa who oversees human resources.

Bosch targets 10 percent female managers by 2020
Bosch Corporation has maintained a turnover rate in the 1% level for many years. The company will continue making efforts to ensure working environments that are easy for associates to work in and to promote active participation of women. Worldwide, the Bosch Group is targeting a female manager ratio of 20 percent by 2020, with Bosch Japan targeting a ratio of 10 percent by the same year. Morikawa added, "Diversity is a strength of the Bosch Group. I believe our low turnover rate shows that associates are proud to work in the Bosch Group. Looking ahead, we plan to focus on issues such as time management strategies, to increase the number of role models among management."

Yuka Matsumoto
Naomi Funada
Phone: +81 3 5485-3393