Mitsubishi Estate is planning to build offices the size of phone boxes that workers in transit can rent by the quarter hour. Each 1.2 sq m soundproofed booth has a chair, a desk and power outlets.
Mitsubishi, together with furniture maker Okamura and video-conferencing specialists V-Cube and Telecube, plan to install 1,000 of the private booths in areas such as airports and train stations over the next five years.
Hiroyuki Mashita, Telecube’s chief executive, said the idea was to boost productivity: "If you’re on the way back from a sales visit and happen to have 15 minutes of free time at a train station, you may want to access a quick workplace," he told Bloomberg.
However, users will have to reserve their space ahead of time and unlock them using a QR code on their phones. The booth costs $2.30 for 15 minutes.
The booths will be make their debut in Mitsubishi Estate’s own offices, 30 of which are in Marunouchi, a commercial district of Tokyo. The company is presently in talks with potential private and public sector partners for other sites around Japanese cities.
In November 2018, Mitsubishi Estate began renting out private offices by the hour in its buildings. It currently operates about 20 such offices in Tokyo. It has also developed a system whereby shared offices can be subdivided into smaller and smaller units, but these spaces tend to be more expensive to service than conventional offices. The Telecube concept, by contrast, is expected to be low cost. Â
Image: The Telecubes offer private space for $2.30 for 15 minutes (Mitsubishi Estate)