Kume Sekkei has started demonstration experiments to explore the future of work styles and work places. In the Design Story series, we will introduce our step-by-step implementation of the experiments along with the process design. We started with the communication lounge at Kume Sekkei's headquarters office.
From now on, we will expand the scope of the project to other areas of our headquarters office as well as other workplaces outside the office.
COVID-19 has changed our way of life, which we used to take for granted. The way we work has also changed drastically, to something more selective and diverse, unconstrained by traditional values. Working from home allows you to balance your time at home, and working in a stimulating social environment in the city helps you to achieve new and creative results. Web-based communication have become more common, and it is no longer necessary to work in an office as in the past. Due to the growing awareness of safety against infectious diseases today, the importance of new work styles has become widely acknowledged. These diverse changes will lead to further enrichment of our lives, and these new choices will be irreversible in the future.
While diverse work styles which allow you to work anywhere have now become commonplace, there are fewer opportunities than ever to gather together. This is partly due to the avoidance of close contact and refraining from commuting in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In the past, gatherings have helped foster casual and friendly connections among coworkers. We were able to see each other, engage in conversations, chit-chat, casual exchange of information, and consultation without consciously thinking about it. The loss of such communication opportunities can have significant impact on a company.
Now that people can choose where they want to work, what is it that they want in a headquarters office? We believe it should serve as a place to "gather" once again. It should be a place where we can make things happen that can only be done by gathering together. We thought that one of the ways to achieve this was to "connect."
By gathering together, we can socialize, share ideas, discover, innovate, help each other, laugh, and make many things happen. With the "new normal" setting in, and anxiety and stress levels reaching new heights, it is increasingly important for people to connect with each other.
To this end, Kume Sekkei has started a series of demonstration experiments to explore the future of workplaces, by creating a new lounge in the headquarters office to begin with.
The new lounge is a 170m² space on the second floor of Kume Sekkei's headquarters building, with a panoramic view of the street trees filling the windows. After conducting an employee survey, we invited employees to submit designs. and the best design was selected by voting. A design proposal based on the theme of relaxing, refreshing, and recharging employees was selected, and it was named K-Lounge. It consists of a large sofa area for relaxation and mingling, and a large table area that can be used for various types of communications. The lounge has been launched as a place to gather and connect, and further foster the corporate culture of communication and sharing ideas that has been cultivated within the company.
Voluntary group study sessions and presentations that used to be held in the training room are now held in this lounge in a more informal manner. At any events, or even meetings, we make it a rule to allow people to pop in and participate, and we try to engage as many people as possible.
In situations where employees are asked to refrain from coming to the office, it is also used as a studio for web-based events. In this way, connections among employees that transcend the boundary between the real and the virtual are deepening, while also using exhibitions and our in-house social networking communication system as well.
With diverse changes in the background, we launched an initiative using our own office to explore the future of workplaces. Now that we can choose where we work, we have created a place for communication as a core of the office. It is a place for communication and sharing ideas, connecting people. This core is an indispensable place for us as a company, regardless of how our workstyles may change.
The next step is to rethink workplaces. Working alone. Working in teams. Gathering together. Dispersing. Opening and closing. Concentrating. Relieving stress. Our goal is to create a workplace of the future by reflecting honest feedback from our own employees, while conducting demonstration experiments step by step.