Thinking about Collective Well-being in the ‘New Normal’ Era

Collective Well-being *1

Realizing Sustainable Teams in the New Normal Era *2

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to suddenly change the way we work.
Having experienced working styles that are not bound by time or location, such as through staggered working hours or telecommuting, we believe that such diversification will continue to accelerate in the future. As the number of working options increases, both companies and individuals will likely be required to autonomously choose what direction they would like to take.
Amid these changes, there is a need to think about how to create sustainable teams that suit the New Normal era. As a catalyst to get this process started, the Rakuten People & Culture Lab developed its Collective Well-being Guidelines. The Guidelines, which consider what constitutes a sustainable team from the perspectives of both the company and the individuals who work there, stress the importance of an approach based on the three key elements of Team, Time, and Space, with Breathing Space allotted to each element (3 Key Elements + Breathing Space).
To facilitate the implementation of the Guidelines, we have prepared a list of specific measures from around the world, gathered from our global network, along with simple tools we developed for use in daily meetings and interviews. We are making these resources available for anyone to download in the hope that they will prove beneficial to a wide range of companies and individuals.

*1 Collective well-being refers to the state of a sustainable team of connected diverse individuals who have attained wellness respectively and work together under a given purpose.
*2 New Normal era refers to the new state in which society has settled based on the presence of the new coronavirus.

3 Key Elements + Breathing Space for Collective Well-being

For Management

In the New Normal era the future is uncertain and change is a given. We believe that the company, acting as a centripetal force, needs to clarify its purpose (raison d’être) and create an environment in which the employees with diverse values who gather there can sustainably demonstrate their inherent skills. Toward this objective, we recommend the designing of “well”-considered breathing space in terms of Team, Time and Place.
Traditionally, companies maximized their organizational performance through the resource management of people, goods, money, and information. In addition, in the New Normal era, we believe the key to creating sustainable teams lies in the designing of breathing space, which is something that at first glance may not seem to be linked to achieving results in the pursuit of short-term productivity.

Connecting as a team

  • Engage people through “purpose”
  • Recommend chatting among diverse team members

Allocating time

  • Establish work and team boundaries (starting and finishing work, taking breaks)
  • Recommend scheduled breaks

Organizing places

  • Provide physical and virtual venues
  • Provide a choice of locations and collaboration tools

For Individuals

In the New Normal era individuals will autonomously choose their own working style. Although the company had traditionally taken the initiative in terms of making decisions and providing resources, we believe that the time has come for individuals to take responsibility for their own well-being. In other words, it is important for each of us to find and express our own work style in accordance with our personal well-being and values, and connect with colleagues with diverse values.

Connecting as people

  • How can you help to realize the ideal team?
  • Do you understand the values of your team members?

Manipulating time

  • Have you planned in advance when you will ”switch on” and ”off,” and when you will take breaks?
  • Do you have the breathing space (time) you need for thinking and retrospection?

Creating a workplace

  • What kind of environment and tools do you need to maximize your capabilities?
  • Where are you able to relax, rejuvenate and enhance your creativity?


To make the content of the Guidelines more accessible, we are making available several simple tools that you can use in your daily work.

Guidelines development process

In order to broadly contribute to society through its research findings, the Rakuten People & Culture Lab holds regular discussions with its Advisory Board, drawing on academic research and advanced case examples from domestic and foreign companies.
These Guidelines were developed through discussions with and information provided by Advisory Board Members and external experts.

Process in the sharing/assetsribution of research findings

Process in the sharing/assetsribution of research findings

Development process of this guideline

Development process of this guideline

About us

The Rakuten People & Culture Lab was established in October 2018 as a research institute focused on new relationships between organizations and individuals and the future of corporate culture. With its Advisory Board comprised of industry experts from a range of fields, the lab collects pioneering examples and research findings from around the world, and following verification within the Rakuten Group, aims to establish new theories and create innovative solutions.

Click here to see the members of Rakuten People & Culture Lab

We share articles on Collective Well-being and corporate culture, and tools to improve your Collective Well-being on our website.

Follow the Rakuten People & Culture Lab page on LinkedIn to get all the latest updates on the LinkedIn platform.