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Japanese startups ease the loneliness of working from home

New services offer teamwork exercises and tools for fluid communication

TOKYO -- It's Friday evening, early June, and the employees of Uridoki, a dealer of secondhand items in Tokyo's Shibuya are having drinks together. At least they would be if the pandemic never hit. But COVID-19 is a reality, one that chased these workers out of their office and into their homes, so their bonding session is being held over Zoom. Crayons are involved.

They are taking part in a picture-drawing workshop. As an emcee guides them along they draw pictures about something delicious they recently ate, what they imagine while listening to their current favorite songs or how they while away their stay-home time.

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