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Corporate camping dispels pandemic gloom for Japan's workers

Equipment maker Snow Peak offers outdoorsy workspaces

Office workers hold a meeting at a Camping Office. Snow Peak hops to bring Japan's camping craze into the workplace.

TOKYO -- Shall we roast marshmallows at the meeting? With camping more popular amid the coronavirus pandemic, a company in Japan is bringing business to the great outdoors via work and team-building venues at campsites.

Camping equipment maker Snow Peak aims to tap the growing demand for socially distanced, unconventional work arrangements with its network of camp-inspired workspaces, largely in the greater Tokyo area.

The outdoor Camping Office, located at campgrounds, hotel gardens and other scenic venues, is designed to host such events as conferences and training sessions. Attendees will have the opportunity to gather around the campfire or pitch a tent with colleagues. Prices start at 11,000 yen ($107) per person for a daylong outing.

Snow Peak also offers an indoor version called Osoto, which literally means "the outside" in Japanese and is filled with plants and tents to evoke that campsite feel. These locations are designed both as event venues and as coworking spaces geared toward remote workers. Rates start at 1,000 yen for two hours.

The company believes that a change in scenery could inspire greater creativity and teamwork among its customers. It also sees these spaces as a way to give city dwellers a taste of the camping experience, which could help boost sales of its equipment.

Snow Peak counts about 20 of these locations, which are operated by outside partners using know-how from unit Snow Peak Business Solutions. It aims to expand the network to 100 locations by 2023, including roughly quadrupling outdoor venues to about 50. It plans to set up 15 new indoor spaces a year as well.

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