Reinventing remote work by proposing an amusement-park workation.
At Yomiuri Land, (Inagi City, Tokyo) they propose a lifestyle that values fun just as much clothing, food, and shelter. Their concept that embraces fun and playing as a core value has attracted much attention. They even went as far as promoting the idea of “amusement workation.” We spoke with Mr. Yamada, the director of the public relations department, and Mr. Okutani, the chief of the public relations department, about the background of their unprecedented efforts to introduce their pool and Ferris wheel as workspaces. (This initiative ended on December 23, 2020. The resumption date is currently undecided.)
By utilizing planning abilities, park collects ideas to combat coronavirus adversity.
During the state of emergency in April 2020, the park was forced to close, and even after the emergency was lifted, the idea of practicing self-restraint and staying at home increased. Due to this, Yomiuri Land had to consider how to utilize the park facilities in order to encourage customers to visit during coronavirus. Of course, this was not an easy task, but it was also a chance for the amusement park to showcase its creativity and value, which helped build the park and its variety of projects. “Since its opening in 1964, we have always taken on the challenge of creating ‘first-in-Japan’ and ‘best-in-Japan’ content,” says Mr. Yamada, who felt that it was time to demonstrate the planning power that supports the company at its base.
Adopting ideas based on actual teleworking experience.
Immediately after soliciting ideas, the company received many project proposals. Among them was this interesting suggestion: “When working remotely, my mood improved and I worked more efficiently when I worked in my yard. Maybe, if I could work from an amusement park, I could enjoy my work even more.” After thinking about this suggestion, Mr. Yamada came up with several ideas, such as renting out a poolside deck space, using the Ferris wheel during online meetings for focus and excitement, and so forth. Concerning these ideas, Mr. Yamada recalled, “It was just around the time that people were starting to get “Zoom fatigue” and general exhaustion from telework. I just matched the needs of times.” They made preparations so that they could start in October after the end of pool season.
Valuing comfort in the workspace.
Some of the first steps the park had to take when planning to rent out the deck space by the pool and the inside of the Ferris wheel as a workspace were improving the Wi-Fi environment and securing a power supply. As for the chairs and tables, the poolside equipment could be used as it was, so the cost could be reduced to about ¥500,000. The booth they prepared has 11 seats. There was still more space, but they decided not to increase the number of seats. According to Mr. Okutani, “While we have followed social distancing guidelines, we are also focusing on creating an appropriate work environment where customers can concentrate without being distracted by others.”
The desire to inspire influences price settings.
Furthermore, they were particular about keeping the price around ¥1,900 on weekdays and ¥2,000 on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, for the usage of the booth from 9:00 to 16:00. The park was also to be closed by 20:00 (the closing time depends on the day). “I think it’s meaningful for Yomiuri Land to propose the concept of combining work and fun at the same time compared to simply renting out a workspace. If we were only taking our own profit into account, we could have increased the number of booths or rented them out per hour, but our desire to revitalize society during these dark times is much more important,” continued Mr. Okutani. As a result, when the service started in October, dozens of reservations were filled immediately, and Yomiuri Land was featured in many domestic and foreign channels.
Building upon the confidence gained from successes achieved during difficult circumstances
This service has the disadvantage of being affected by the seasons and weather, so they cannot provide it all year round, but they continue to provide this service while devising other measures such as opening spaces other than the pool – for example, covered areas. According to Mr. Yamada, “The people who first embraced our workspace were not only young people in their 20s and 30s but also people in their 40s to 60s. I was worried that our idea might not be accepted by society, but having so many customers use our workspace has given me confidence.” In response to that statement, Mr. Okutani said, “We are still in a difficult situation, but I think it is great that we were able to send the message to our employees that we can take on challenges even in these dark times.” Going forward, they will continue to take on the challenges that are unique to Yomiuri Land, while considering the needs of the current world.