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Tokyo theme park Yomiuriland becomes new office for teleworkers

The coronavirus pandemic has turned one Japanese theme park into a new workplace for teleworkers, with a haunted house thrown in to boot.

On Thursday, Yomiuriland, an amusement park in Tokyo, launched an “amusement workation” package to include a working booth next to its pool and a ride on its observation Ferris wheel with a portable WiFi router.

“I love working outside. This is a good plan, and it feels great,” said Tatsuki Yamamoto, 47, president of a IT solutions firm Fleq, sitting on a white pool chair with his laptop.

Employees at his company are also working remotely, Yamamoto said.

A third of Japanese firms are reassessing using offices as 65% of firms allowed or encouraged employees to work from home due to the pandemic, a Reuters poll showed in August.

Many workers in Japan, and globally, began telecommuting as the coronavirus spread and governments imposed strict restrictions to contain it.

Several tourist attractions in Japan have been hit by the pandemic, and some amusement parks have explored other ways to lure visitors.

Fleq President Tatsuki Yamamoto points his laptop camera out the window of a Ferris wheel to show the scenery to his employees who are on an online meeting with him at Yomiuriland in Tokyo on Thursday. | REUTERS

The Yomiuriland theme park sells day passes for ¥1,900 ($18.05) per person on weekdays, and ¥2,000 for weekends and holidays, including a workspace rental by the pool, and a ride on the giant Ferris wheel, as well as after-work free golf balls at a driving range inside the park.

About 10 customers including Yamamoto used the park with roller coasters and a haunted house as their alternative office on Thursday.

On the slowly moving Ferris wheel, Yamamoto dialed into an online conference call and showed off the height to his co-workers through a camera on his laptop.

However, it was hard to focus in the air, he said.

“I don’t know whether to enjoy the view or do the work.”


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