Are offices obsolete!? The new office in the age of the new normal.

PayPay moved to a new office in September. With a completely different way of thinking and creating, this is an office for the new normal. This time, Mr. Wataru Horikita from the General Affairs Department, who was in charge of launching the new office, explains what the purpose and function of the office is and why it is so full of charm.


The new office is located on the 21st floor of Kamiyacho Trust Tower, which is directly connected to Tokyo Metro Kamiyacho Station. The entire floor is dedicated to PayPay, with a close-up view of Tokyo Tower from the windows. PayPay and WeWork Japan LLC began designing the office together around May of 2020, and it was completed in September.​​​​​​​​​​​​

Walking through the door, the first thing that meets the eye is the support desk. This is where employees first stop to take their temperatures when they arrive at the office. The support desk also receives mail on behalf of employees working from home.

Many PayPay employees generally work from home, so they don’t have their own set seats in the new office. There also aren’t assigned seats for the CEO or executives! That’s why we have lockers for hundreds of people to store their belongings in when they come to the office. The lockers can be opened and closed with the WeWork card key that employees carry.​​​

Wataru Horikita talking about the lockers

Walking past the lockers, we come to all kinds of tables, sofas, and chairs in every imaginable size. Some of the sofas can seat up to 10 people. The colorful line-up of furniture makes it exciting to think about where to sit.​​

This is the Community & Social area, an open space where employees can relax and chat. It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as having business meetings or lunch with colleagues. As a trade-off of eliminating fixed seating throughout the office, the amount of open space has been increased to encourage communication between employees.

Walking farther past the colorful furniture, there is a Desk Work area with desks and chairs. There is no fixed seating here either, so anyone in the office can use it as they see fit. Each table is equipped with a monitor since this area is designed for those who wish to concentrate on their desk work.​​

“Desk work” area

What makes this office unique is that, unlike a traditional office, each person has more space! As a COVID-19 safety measure, the number of seats has been reduced. There is also a two-meter gap between chairs and other furniture all across the office. There’s so much space that the team could probably play catch between the furniture!

The number of seats in the entire office has been reduced to 25% of the previous office in order to keep within the 25% attendance limit. The generous amount of surrounding space makes it easier to concentrate on the work at hand.​​​​

As an additional COVID-19 precaution, everything is sanitized every two hours, and the desks are cleaned overnight to create a clean, safe, and secure office at all times. ​​

Exit to the hallway and cut across to the other side of the floor to see a space where employees can engage in deep conversation.

The Active Collaboration area is equipped with giant monitors, speakers, webcams, and even whiteboards, which allow employees in the office to connect with those working from home. This setup allows for seamless discussions between those who come to the office and those who are at home.​​​​

The Active Collaboration area

For those who wish to talk in a closed environment, the conference rooms in the Learning area are available. Here too, each room is equipped with a large monitor to facilitate online connectivity. Also, rooms that had a capacity of 10 now only allow for three to ensure social distancing. In this way, all conference rooms have spacious setups as well.​​​​

A meeting room in the Learning area
Wataru Horikita using one of the phone booths

There are a number of perks as well, including a variety of free drinks as well as coffee servers and also a beer server available in the WeWork community space for drinks later in the evening! At night time, the view is stunning – a small reward for those working hard late at night.​​

At night, you can see the beautifully illuminated Tokyo Tower.

Behind the scenes, the “new PayPay office” that was discussed was initially just an office with a bunch of desks and chairs. The only difference being that it did not have fixed seating.

And yet, after repeated discussions that included the CEO about what the purpose of coming to the office really is, the decision was made to completely revamp the office.

Under the new Work from Anywhere at Any Time workstyle that was introduced in September, nearly all employees switched to working from home. The conclusion that was reached after multiple discussions with various people about why we need an office in the first place was that the office is a place where everyone can gather to create new value.​​​

This is why the new office has more open space. It makes it easier for employees to communicate with each other. Working from home is fine when you want to work in peace. However, because the current workstyle makes it difficult to communicate with team members and makes us less visible to one another, the office was designed with the intent of making it a place (an office) that enabled the creation of top value where everyone can get together. The idea here is to do away with fixed seating and have people convene in a lively, bustling environment to actively discuss and create things.

An open space where employees can communicate with each other

Of course, since there are a variety of areas provided, including quiet spaces and conference rooms, it’s easy to choose an optimal work space.

In addition, eight satellite offices, including one at Tokyo Station, ones in Shibuya and Yokohama, as well as community areas in over 30 WeWork offices across six cities in Japan have become available to employees. These offices can be used freely as long as a reservation is made and are open to employees who may not be able to work from home for whatever reason.​​​​​​​​​​

The journey of the new office & satellite offices has only just begun. Data will be collected on which offices and which areas are the most popular, including getting actual feedback from employees to make things even better. This is also in line with PayPay’s culture of speed and improvement. Wouldn’t it be great to build an office together that makes you look forward to coming to work whether it’s once a week or once a month? ​​

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Editor: Daiki (PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team)

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