Why Tokyo’s young workers are turning to satellite offices

The Japanese workplace has gone through major changes in the wake of the pandemic. Now a new research study shows that satellite offices are on the rise in the Tokyo region

The extent to which work styles in Japan have changed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic is revealed in new research from Tokyo’s Xymax Real Estate Institute, which shows a dramatic rise in the use of satellite offices by younger workers.

Xymax examined chronological data from its annual Greater Tokyo Office Worker Survey over five years from 2018 to 2022, its most recent survey. Around 2,000 office workers were surveyed annually.

Tokyo employers moved rapidly to implement remote work arrangements (described as ‘telework’ in the Xymax report) during the pandemic. But while the use of satellite offices for telework has risen year on year, working from home has ‘peaked out’.

Challenges at home

The research reveals considerable dissatisfaction with working from home, especially among the young who expressed productivity-related challenges such as ‘difficult to concentrate’, ‘prone to distraction’, and ‘prone to long work hours’.

As a result, there has been ‘remarkable growth’ in the use of satellite offices among workers in their 20s and 30s. Those working as technical specialists and corporate planners are most likely to be found in these spaces, while satellite workspace growth is most notable in the manufacturing and information & communication sectors.

Working from home still accounts for most telework time, but those using satellite offices now spend 18 per cent of their time (a little less than one day per week) in them. Time allocated to telework generally has increased in the Greater Tokyo region, averaging 32.1 per cent (around 1.5 days per week) in the latest 2022 survey.

Desire for more choice

The desire to have more choice in where to work is driving up the use of satellite offices, according to Xymax. There are also productivity-related benefits such as ‘better work results’ and ‘can come up with good ideas’. However, the survey revealed that problems of communication in hybrid and remote work remain whether employees work in a satellite office or not.

The term ‘satellite office’ is described in the report as a collective term for workplaces provided by the company for telework apart from the main office or the home. Satellite offices are often located in local areas closer to home as opposed to the city centre.  Tokyo has some of the longest commuting times in the world.

Read the full Xymax report ‘Changes in Office Workers’ Workplace’ here.

Xymax Real Estate Institute is a Corporate Member of WORKTECH Academy
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