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How the right serviced office is key to your business success in Japan

By Rebecca Quin

It’s been proven time and again that office space directly impacts the performance of a business. Entrepreneurs and business people should think of office space as a strategic tool for growth, even when starting out in a new and foreign environment. Space Design, a pioneer in the serviced office and serviced apartment industry in Tokyo, has made this the company mantra, and with its recently opened “BUREX FIVE” office in the Shimbashi business district, it continues to demonstrate how the right working and living space can be key to the success of your business in Japan.

A city that promises success

Tokyo, the world’s biggest metropolis, is teeming with opportunities for foreign enterprise. From its huge and diverse market — including the pioneering IT electronics sector and the world’s second largest healthcare market — to its excellent public transport and world-leading safety, there’s never been a better time to consider a move to Japan’s capital. But starting a business in a foreign country can be a daunting prospect. You need both a foolproof strategy and foolproof support. The latter is where Space Design positions itself as a critical player.

Tokyo’s office landscape

Office space in the capital is set to increase over the next few years. In 2018, there will be more than 800,000 new square meters opening up to corporate tenants while rental rates are expected to remain on a gradual decline.

The not-so good news is that Japan’s rental market is difficult to access for many foreign tenants. In most cases, leasing a space requires domestic financial backing in some form. Without a Japanese representative’s support, finding a reasonable rental contract will be a challenge.

Finding a solution

For most people coming from overseas, a serviced office is by far the best option. Fully equipped and usually located within a city’s core business district, serviced offices are a flexible and cost-saving alternative to leasing a conventional office space. Low startup costs, varied leasing options and coming fully-furnished, serviced offices require none of that stressful initial setup when you’re fresh off the plane and disoriented in a new city.

Along with 24-hour bilingual helpline support, Space Design specializes in foreigner-friendly rental contracts, freeing up the process from the standard bureaucracy making it simple to apply for a serviced office space from overseas and settle in immediately on arrival.

Space Design's serviced offices are located in key business districts in Tokyo, all within a short walking distance of the station.

Location, location

Depending on your industry, you’ll need to choose an office in a tactical location. Space Design has operated a series of serviced and rental offices under the “BUREX” brand all strategically located in Tokyo’s key business districts including Shimbashi and Roppongi. This means that Space Design tenants have immediate access to potential partners in their industry.

Each of Space Design’s offices are also situated within short walking distance of a station. BUREX FIVE, the company’s latest opening featured in the video above, is just a 3-minute walk from Shimbashi station and a 2-minute walk from Uchisaiwaicho station.

Space designed for your needs

While serviced offices, built for a variety of potential tenants, can conjure up an image of a generic and uninspired interior, Space Design goes against the grain with smart space that boosts productivity and encourages collaboration.

The design of BUREX FIVE revolves around the concept of five senses and their impact on successful workflow. The five different floors have different themes drawn from nature, evoked through decor, fragrance and even subtle audio that replicate a natural environment.

“The idea is that human beings, when they are working, [they] need all of the right conditions which relate to each of their senses. What is it that makes a person feel comfortable and makes them succeed in what they are doing? We really thought about that when coming up with the design for “BUREX FIVE,” says Space Design’s Sales Manager Paul Yang.

The communal spaces in BUREX FIVE have been specifically designed to facilitate productivity, entrepreneurship and smart networking between tenants.

At the heart of “BUREX FIVE” is the communal lounge where tenants are encouraged to conduct meetings and socialize with each other.

“The lounge incorporates all of the five senses making you feel comfortable and at ease. We’ve actually found that, with the sense-stimulating features, it has helped businesses to formalize a contract,” he adds.

The space can also be used for private events at a company’s request. One tenant has previously hosted a product promotion in the lounge. Space Design helped facilitate the event, inviting contacts interested in learning more about the business.

An invaluable business support network

One of the biggest challenges when establishing a business in a foreign country is finding a network. Language in this surprisingly English-shy city is already a big issue but even a good grasp of Japanese is useless without people to communicate with.

In this situation, what really sets Space Design apart from other real estate providers is the strategic business support that it offers to new tenants.

“You do need to have some sort of an establishment or some sort of a foundation to make sure you are connected with somebody to help your business grow and this is where we come in. We provide services by introducing them to vendors, suppliers, potentially to investors and many other types of people that they’re looking for,” says Paul.

“This is something that many other competitors do not necessarily do, but this is something that we enjoy doing [...]. When you come into Japan we are there as your arm to really support your business to grow very quickly and to grow large,” he says.

As of 2018, Space Design provide over 800 serviced apartments throughout Tokyo. GATE HILL TOKYO (pictured) is a boutique residence close to the business and financial hub of Shinagawa.

Connecting through events

Space Design also hosts regular events to facilitate the expansion of its client’s networks. Every year a networking event takes place at its serviced residence “GATE HILL TOKYO” in Takanawa, where Space Design invites current and past tenants from across its properties to come together with relevant industry leaders.

“We do try to introduce tenants to other tenants. Who knows? They can become business partners or even just long-lasting friends,” says Yang.

Understanding the bigger picture

Space Design also offers serviced apartments that can be leased in conjunction with its offices, under the “BUREAU” and “B-SITE” brands. A hybrid between a home and a hotel, Space Design’s serviced apartments are just as beautifully designed as the offices, and are often located in the same neighborhood.

“Our serviced apartments and serviced offices are typically located very close to each other. The idea is that we wanted to make sure that when they are here in Tokyo they don’t have to do these very long commutes between the office and their apartment.”

Space Design understands that setting up a business in a foreign country extends beyond a having a desk and a chair to work from.  Those businesses arriving into the Japanese market are led by people; people who also need a place to live, friends to spend time with and a sustainable work-life balance.

“As many people know, Tokyo is a very expensive city. We try to reduce the initial startup costs to make it possible for anybody who has the wish to start something in Tokyo,” says Yang.

Why Tokyo, why now?

“Tokyo is currently going through a very big shift,” he says. “A lot of large corporates are looking to work with a lot of innovating companies. Typically, before they preferred to work with other large corporates but now that mindset has changed.”

With two major world sporting events ahead, the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo is also making moves towards more internationalization. Politicians are working to attract more foreign companies to the city, and pushing corporate giants to work with new startups entering the market.

“At the same time, there’s still room to do a lot of different things. Japan is a very large market. This is a place where you can test new ideas, and if they are successful here they will very likely work well in other markets in Asia,” says Yang.

If you’re thinking about making the business move to Tokyo, Space Design are the people to get you there. To find out more, visit http://bit.ly/2BbEdzV.

© Japan Today

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

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