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WFA × People who moved - Kanemura-san

Kona

09/06/2022

The WFA Series has featured employees working from various locations. In this issue, Kanemura-san joins us to talk about her life on Ishigaki Island, where she spends half of each month! It has been two years since “Work from Anywhere at Anytime” (WFA) was introduced in September 2020. This is the first WFA series issue delivered as an in-person interview. Kona from the editorial team had the chance to speak to the interviewee in person.

(R)Interviewee:Yukie Kanemura (HR) (L)Interviewer:Kona PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team
(R) Interviewee:Yukie Kanemura HR
(L) Interviewer:Kona PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team

The very first in-person interview was at Ishigaki Island

Kona:
Today is our first in-person interview ever! And guess what, we’re not interviewing at the office. We are at–drum roll please–Ishigaki Island! It just so happened that we were staying on Ishigaki Island at the same time, so we jumped on the chance to meet up and do this face-to-face! This could only happen at PayPay because we all work fully remote. I’m so glad this is happening.
So, I’ve known you well through work Kanemura-san, but it’s only very recently that I found out you frequent Ishigaki Island. You’re originally from Yokohama and used to live in Tokyo when you first joined PayPay, right?

Kanemura:
Yes, that’s right. I was born in Yokohama and grew up in Kanagawa Prefecture. Then I studied abroad in the U.S. for a year in high school and spent five years at a Canadian university before returning to Japan. After that, I joined PayPay in 2019 after working for a few venture firms. I was living in Tokyo at the time! As for the industry, I have always been in the human resources field.

Yukie Kanemura

Kona:
So you were leading quite the urban lifestyle. Did you come to Ishigaki Island right after “Work from Anywhere at Anytime (WFA)” started in September 2020?

Kanemura:
No, I didn’t come here right away. I ventured out gradually, using my leave around the time the spread of COVID slowed down a bit. I barely left the house back in 2020 and thought to myself in a state of fretfulness, “If I keep living like this, this chapter of my life would be titled, “Me, My Job, and My Room!'”

Kona:
Totally! So not “Me, Myself & Irene,” but “Me, My Job, and My Room?” (laughs)

Kanemura:
Exactly(laughs), I’ve always loved summer, islands, and the sea, so I kept hopping around to places like Amami Oshima, taking advantage of WFA. Among all my visits, I found Ishigaki Island to be quiet enough. You can get close to the locals, so I’ve gotten to know lots of them, and I really loved it here.

Sea of Oku-Iriomote
Sea of Oku-Iriomote

Kona:
Yaeyama is full of nature and is one of my favorite places. I get this impression that these days, Okinawa is a popular working destination for many nomad workers and people in IT, and I heard that there are more and more coworking spaces available. Where is your primary workspace nowadays?

Kanemura:
I either work from home where I’m based or at a coworking space where we have this interview today. On the days when I have no meetings scheduled, I work at cafes too. Many business workshops are held these days, so there’s more opportunity for me to meet people from different fields.

The coworking space in town, where the interview took place.
The coworking space in town, where the interview took place.

Kona:
Right, we run into one of your acquaintances earlier too! So you are expanding your connections outside of the company.

We are never going back to working in an office space. More freedom with WFA.

Kona:
Take today, for example, we’re doing this interview at Ishigaki Island of all places, but there are, in fact, many employees at PayPay who have never set foot in the office since joining the company. I’ve only visited the office a handful of times too. I think that many people, including myself, are surprised that the WFA system is actually working once we join the company.

The coworking space in town, where the interview took place.
The coworking space in town, where the interview took place.

Kanemura:
It’s undoubtedly appealing that we are allowed to work anywhere we please within Japan, as long as we follow the company rules like being careful about handling confidential information and being able to carry out our work safely. It’s easy to apply for using the system, too; all you need to do is to fill out a questionnaire to inform the company about the time and place in advance. Moreover, I hear that the Division Heads like Sode-san and Fujii-san also work outside their homes from time to time.

Kona:
Yes, you start work by following all the guidelines related to information management, health and safety, prior registration, and inform your supervisor about your work location. It is definitely a free way of working, but it’s practiced responsibly based on proper rules.

Kanemura:
Exactly, there are specific rules about implementing the WFA, so I make sure to look them up to check if the workspace meets all the requirements. Also, if I may add from an HR perspective, we have set out a rule for employees to report their whereabouts to their superior when working outside of their home for more than one night, in the interest of ensuring their safety in case of disasters or whatnot.

The rules (excerpt)

  • Must be within Japan
  • Able to concentrate on work
  • Stable network available to conduct work smoothly
  • Appropriate information management
  • Ability to be contacted at all times during working hours.
  • Health and safety can be ensured

A fully remote working style and ability to move that goes beyond the conventional notion of WFH (Work from home)

SUP while marveling at the sun setting in the sea of Iriomote Island
SUP while marveling at the sun setting in the sea of Iriomote Island

Kona:
Last month’s WFA article featured someone who moved to Okinawa during her previous employment. Are you also considering moving?

Kanemura:
Actually, I… already have! I transferred my residency to Ishigaki City last September (2021), so I’m a bona fide islander!

Kona:
No way! You did? So your current home is Ishigaki Island?

Kanemura:
That’s right! PayPay provides 100,000 yen a year as a WFH allowance, so I used that to buy a moped and furnish my room.

Kona:
So you’re an authentic islander…! That’s amazing.

We still have so much more to discuss. In the next issue, Kona, who is in charge of the WFA series, will answer some questions from Kanemura-san. Stay tuned!


Thanks to: Yukie Kanemura / Editor: Kona( PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team )/ Translator: Philline / Translation Editor: Justin
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.