Headquartered in Osaka, iTEC Hankyu Hanshin Corp. is a system integrator of the major railway company. As a part of work style reformation, the company has established remote telecommuting option(work flexibly regardless of place or time using the telecommunication technology) and introduced LINE WORKS. iTEC Hankyu Hanshin Corp. also provides suggestions on the ‘Remote working solution’ to other companies and enterprises, based on their knowledge accumulated during LINE WORKS usage. This time, we interviewed the employees who were responsible for making suggestion on remote telecommuting solution, employees who are actually do remote working and the field working developers who are using LINE WORKS about the LINE WORKS introduction and its effects.
Tell us about your company and individual roles
Mr. Kakinouchi :
Our company is a subsidiary company of Hankyu Hanshin Holdings Group. We provide IT supports to each company inside the group and we provide know-hows which we gained to the other companies.
Business Solution headquarters mainly responsible for provision of systems and services for each company in the group, and the development of infrastructure systems related to railway services, accounting, and personnel and so on. Headquarters Administration, in which I work for, is responsible for new solution planning and one of the projects was the introduction of LINE WORKS.
Ms. Nishisaka :
I am mainly responsible for system maintenance for estate-related clients. I gave a birth to my child and used parental leave at the end of 2015, when the project was progressing actively. Currently, I am using short-time work after I came back to office.
Please let us know the background behind the introduction of a chat tool for teleworking
Mr. Kakinouchi :
Starting from August 2016, our company ran the pilot operation for remote telecommuting system, to support employees who would not be able to work at the office due to childcare, nursing care, injuries or illness and so on. Since January 2017, our company introduced the system office-wide and actively promoted for teleworking. Our aim is to help employees, those who were away from office for a while, smoothly return to work, by establishing a flexible working style. In order for employees to work flawlessly at their house or outside the office, it is very important to maintain the high level of communication is mandatory. For this reason, we started to consider about introducing a chatting tool which help reinforces smooth communication.
What was the decisive reason that drove you to turn to LINE WORKS?
Mr. Kakinouchi :
Most of our employees either visit and work at the clients’ office or give consulting to the clients outside the office. Due to this, ‘mobile-work’, which means work outside the office, was already settled down at our company. We have used free chatting tool for communication with the members working far away from the office. Also, we found the chatting very convenient since we did not have to start the conversation with the formal greetings like “Thank you for your work”.
However, using the free chatting tool as a company communication tool had a one critical huddle to solve, the security. To solve this, we tried various chatting tools for enterprise Among those tools, LINE WORKS has received the highest scores from our employees and eventually, we decided to introduce LINE WORKS. The decisive reason for choosing LINE WORK was that its interface was easy to use, we can save the archived messages, check who read the message, and connect to the LINE easily.
What impressions did you receive after introducing LINE WORKS chat on the teleworking?
Ms. Nishisaka :
As the fall of 2016, we started telecommuting as a part of work style reformation and use the chatting as well. Unlike phone, we can continue our conversation even after leaving a seat for a while. For example, when I have to communicate on the phone while taking care of my kid, it is hard for me to talk calmly. With chatting, however, I can continue the conversation even sometime after. Also, it is very convenient to ask for confirmation or materials necessarily needed at the time when I am comfortable.
We have regular video conference. However, we have to wait until the conference to ask questions and also takes time to receive the response. But chatting not only have the time limits but also more comfortable than emailing when sharing the short notice. Furthermore, I can easily send request to the others when there is something to ask.
Also, since I am participating in one of the group chatting rooms, even without staying at the office, I can keep the track of the issues and its situations just by reading the messages according to the timeline. As I shorten up my working hours, I leave the office faster than other employees. But with LINE WORKS, I can see the overall situation at the office even after I left, and also find out what should I do the next day at work. I feel so relived with the fact that I can check the messages at the right timing, not worrying too much about the time.
Mr. Ishida :
As a boss of Ms. Nishisaka, it became a great help to be able to keep the track of the situations during her teleworking. It is possible to check all the minor details about the work, which are not necessary to call and make deliberate inquiries. Also, it is possible to naturally share the situation with the team members via group chatting room. It seems like LINE WORKS plays a big role in terms of being enable us to check the overall situation with minimal communication. We believe that it is great pleasure to the company to have the opportunity to have smart and talented employees return to the office and show their ability with the work.
What was your impression when you utilize LINE WORKS chatting for your telecommuting?
Ms. Sakakida :
We are utilizing LINE WORKS when creating the chatting room with other members and check detailed specifications or receive instructions from our boss. Because we sometime have obstacles for collaborations such as, seats of the participating members are located far away or the member is absent, there were the cases when neither confirming the work nor adjusting the opinion did process well enough. Ultimately, delayed time in development as well as re-do the work were unavoidable sometimes.
After the LINE WORKS introduction, we felt that the unnecessary time wasted while waiting for the response or reworking rate have been reduced than before since we can still share opinion regardless of its physical distance. Waste of communication has also reduced as the checking process with the employees is now simplified. As we can contact each other more often than before, we feel that the cohesion of the team got better.
Mr. Endo :
Mistakes made from inadequate communication have reduced dramatically. When writing email, we have to start with ‘Thank you for your work, this is Endo’, and also have to check the overall content of the email before sending it. This may sound simple, but it is actually burdening job, which makes the overall communication cumbersome and hard. But with chatting, however, we can communicate with short sentence.
Mr. Kakinouchi :
A number of meetings and in-house extension calls have been reduced. Especially, the extension call, which we have been frequently dialed, has been significantly reduced. Also, as a Headquarters Administration, coordination with each division head in business management is frequently made. If we use LINE WORKS, we can deliver the semantic grasp level of information can be shared quickly before we report officially. There definitely is a difference in the feeling during the reporting just by sending the detailed changes beforehand. We are getting the impression that we are getting closer to the person whom I report.
Also, LINE WORKS has a feature to save the achieved chatting log. Thanks to this feature, the employees’ awareness of information accuracy and response speed has been increasing, and we think it is very beneficial from a business point of view.
Ms. Tanaka :
Work processing time has been speeded up. If we forward questions or issues need to be checked via LINE WORKS, we can do our work before receiving the response. Since we can also response to the received messages immediately with LINE WORKS, we are able to use our time efficiently. Up until today, it took time to communicate with the boss who are working outside the office regarding small issues and checks, since we only had phone or email for communication. With LINE WORKS, however, we can ask any question without feeling burdensome and our boss can also give simple reactions like ‘OK’.
And, this ultimately shorten the time took during the decision making. As we have more communication with the team members, feeling of unity has increased and the overall atmosphere of our office got warmer and welcoming to all the employees than before.
How do you want to utilize LINE WORKS in the future?
We are planning to establish a system which support LINE WORKS introduction and provide the after service such as user/log management and so on. After this, we are also going to suggest and introduce LINE WORKS as an enterprise-level of solution tool, targeting teleworkers. In fact, many companies in our group have already conducted a trial operation for telecommuting and distance communication. Also, we will continue to utilizing LINE WORKS as a business tool between LINE WORKS Japan or develop the automatic response system based upon AI. We want to propose new value that goes beyond the meaning of communication tool.
※ All details, affiliations, and positions specified were gathered at the time of interview.