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Business

Shared offices cater to Japan's work-style reforms

Rental spaces aimed at saving time, increasing productivity

TOKYO -- Shared offices are cropping up in Japan, finding a niche as companies reform their working styles. The offices are designed to allow employees working outside the company office to do their work for short periods of time. Many are located in the suburbs so that employees caring for children can do their work without having to commute to their office.

In April, Mitsui Fudosan launched Workstyling Project, a rental office service with private rooms and meeting spaces for corporate customers, in Tokyo and other regions.

Renting an offices will cost 300 yen ($2.69) per 10 minutes. Customers pay a basic fee of 50,000 yen for up to 100 people a month. The company plans to increase the number of shared offices from the current 16 to about 30 by the end of this fiscal year.

Japanese seasoning maker Ajinomoto, a client of Mitsui Fudosan's shared office service, plans to cut average working hours by 90 hours by fiscal 2018, from 1,890 hours in fiscal 2016. The company is hoping that using the shared office will save sales representatives and other employees the trouble of returning to headquarters.

Rental office operator Xymax runs shared offices in 30 locations in Tokyo, Kanagawa and other regions. The rental office is available for 150 yen per 15 minutes, with no basic fees.

One employee of an information and telecommunications system developer that uses Ximax's shared office, said productivity has increased with no need for workers to commute to the office.

There are also moves to attract business from companies that have employees with small children. Railway operator Hankyu and Hankyu Realty in February partnered with Regus Japan, a Japanese unit of Luxembourg-based shared office operator Regus, to open three shared offices in Osaka, in western Japan.

The shared offices, called Regus Express, are located in residential areas to meet demand from people who cannot leave home for long periods because they need to raise children and provide nursing care. The shared offices are operating at near full capacity "on the back of larger-than-expected demand," said a Regus Japan representative.

(Nikkei)

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