Office Relocation Example
Established an office environment that readily enables interactions and exchanges that lead to the creation of new ideas
QSTO Communications (hereinafter referred to as “QSTO”) provides video content containing in-stream advertisements, of the type that play before and after videos on Internet video sites, in the same way as television commercials run between shows. QSTO delivers this content primarily for female-oriented media outlets, targeting women in the F1 (age 20 to 34) and F2 (age 35 to 49) demographics. QSTO found an office worthy of being its founding location, and started up its new business in Shibuya: a highly progressive area of Tokyo in which new businesses are springing up continuously.
We interviewed Mr. Ken Sakurai, President and CEO of QSTO, about the background that led to the establishment of this new office, and his impressions of it.
Course of Events Leading to Establishment of New Office:
We Wanted to Establish Our Office in Shibuya – Where New Businesses Are Born
We have started providing a new service called QSTO Movie PMP, in which we stream advertisements together with high-quality video content, for customers with female-oriented media outlets. We are also thinking that we would like to create a new market in the field of video advertising. The place that we thought should be our major battleground was Shibuya.
The majority of Japanese web and IT-related companies, particularly those that have become big through the Internet, have established themselves in the Shibuya area. It would probably be fair to say that it’s like the Silicon Valley of Japan. The companies that are our potential clients are also located nearby, and so it is efficient for us to be based here, too, because it makes it easy for us to visit them for business negotiations and so on. It was for reasons such as these that we really wanted the place of our founding to be Shibuya.
IT engineers and designers also have a strong tendency for being particular about their working environments. Going forward, it will be necessary for us to recruit these kinds of human resources to avoid losing out to major corporations; and for that reason we did not want to compromise, either with regard to the Shibuya location, or the close proximity of our office to the station.
Additionally, as part of our corporate culture, we wanted to ingrain the concept of “---less”; as in seamless, borderless, genderless, and so on. As the first step towards achieving this, we wanted to create an open-plan, one-floor office space with no walls or partitions, so that everyone can tell instantly when even a single new employee has joined the company, simply by looking at one another’s faces.
How Ken Facilitated Relocation :
Prompt Response and Reliability Based on Solid Track Record were the Keys
We began searching for a property in the highly popular Shibuya district from around Spring 2016, with the conditions of it being a large-scale property with around 200 tsubo (approx. 661 square meters) of floor space that would enable us to create a one-floor office, while at the same time keeping costs down to the lowest level possible. It was around that time that I saw Ken Corporation’s name pop up during an internet search. I called them, and that was the beginning of our relationship.
Initially we had approached three different agencies, and had decided to go with the company that offered us the property that best fitted our preferences.
After our initial consultation, Ken Corporation didn’t keep us waiting for days, but came back to us the very next day and showed us several potential candidate properties. The consultation was also right on the mark, so there was really very little discrepancy between the kind of office that we were envisaging and the ones that Ken recommended to us in terms of either floor layout or cost. Thanks to that, we were able to progress to considering the potential options with minimal stress.
We also had slight concerns about initial negotiations with the building owners, over matters such as rent rate negotiations for the lease of a commercial office, and requesting the rent-free period that would be necessary when establishing our new office. But judging by their interactions with us, and the effective handling of our needs by our sales representative, we felt that we could feel safe and secure in entrusting these matters to Ken Corporation; with its extensive track record in the Shibuya and Roppongi areas.
How Selection of Properties Went :
Proposal of a Rare Property that Matches Our Preference in Desired Area
We considered a total of around 30 to 40 properties around the Shibuya area, and actually went to view seven different offices. Out of those, we advanced negotiations to the extent of putting in a tentative application for two of those properties, but we hesitated to make a firm decision to sign an actual lease agreement for either of those properties. At one point, we even considered abandoning the idea of a Shibuya location altogether, and began to include the nearby areas of Meguro and Ebisu in our search. It was at that time that Ken Corporation introduced us to the KDC Shibuya building, with the condition that we would establish our offices on two separate floors.
Although it wasn’t the single-floor office that we had originally hoped for, it was a two-floor office on two consecutive floors. We thought that this would enable us to locate our indirect departments (that handle confidential information) and our conference rooms, etc., on a separate floor, while at the same time still achieving our objective of making our production workplace a single partition-less office space. It was also very close to the station, and enabled us to keep out costs down to a considerably more reasonable amount than we had initially envisaged. Despite the fact that there is a shortage of large-scale properties in the Shibuya area, Ken Corporation also negotiated a rent-free period for us, which was really helpful.
The interior design contractor that Ken Corporation referred us to almost immediately provided us with several design drawings and a range of cost quotations (for standard, special and premium grade finishes). When we chose on of those, we were then provided with a further three proposals to match our selection, so we were very pleased with how considerate they were. We were able to move smoothly through those parts of the process thanks to the initial preparations made by Ken Corporation’s sales representative.
Another key point was that through Ken Corporation we were able to delegate all communications—with the interior design firm, building contractors and the building operators—through a single point of contact. By simply telling our preferences to our Ken Corporation representative, they were accurately conveyed to all of the relevant parties. Thanks to that, we were able to focus on our own main business.
Outcomes Achieved at the New Office :
Environment that Readily Facilitates Active Communication
Because our new office space has no walls or partitions and allows us to see one another’s faces, it is an environment in which we can tap one another on the shoulder and talk face-to-face, rather than communicating by e-mail. In the future, we also want to make it possible to switch desk locations freely, so we have not placed any filing cabinets at our employees’ feet. We want our employees to be able to sit wherever they feel like sitting that day, without worrying about departmental divisions and so on. I don’t really like the creation of class or rank distinctions based on job titles, so we have made every effort to do away with managers’ desks and so on.
Also, in order to reduce the number of formalized meetings as much as possible, we have also established a “refreshment room” adjacent to our office space, making it possible to hold small informal meetings or discussions there. Some employees also choose to work there sometimes, for a refreshing change of pace. When newly recruited employees joined the company, we were also able to hold departmental social events there. Thanks to having this style of workplace environment we have been able to reduce the number of meetings, and I feel that it has also enabled us to achieve new interactions and exchanges and exchanges across departments.
Young people working in IT-related fields also pay attention to aspects of office design such as these. In order to recruit the kinds of intelligent human resources who demand this kind of attention to office design, to avoid losing out to major corporations, we also want to appeal strategically to potential new recruits about how great our working environment here is.
We have installed projectors in the majority of our conference rooms, on a separate floor from our office space. We use videos when making presentations to our customers, because we can appeal to them more by displaying our content using a projector than by simply showing the content to them on a computer screen. Recently we also display content using projectors in our internal management meetings. Since we take our notebook PCs with us, we have now completely eliminated the need for printing paper handouts and other such materials prior to meetings.
The response from the majority of our employees has been that they are happy to be able to work in a good office like this. Initially, there a few employees who took a reserved attitude towards conversing during work because of the lack of any walls or partitions in the office space, but since we began playing background music (using the USEN subscription based BGM service) they have overcome those inhibitions. Now we have reached a stage where everyone can gather together and communicate freely, both during work time and during their lunch breaks. It is our hope that this communication will generate new ideas leading to new market creation.
Prospects for the Future :
Work Surely and Steadily to Create Our Market and Expand Our Business Operations
Urban development projects are currently underway in various locations around Shibuya, and the district is making new strides towards further growth. We want to watch intently as the city develops around us, and to grow and develop with it, while at the same time maintaining a high level of sensitivity to our surroundings. First of all, I want us to work steadily and surely to create a new market, and to expand our business operations.
As our business grows larger, our number of employees will also surely increase, and we will need to increase the size of our office. My previous company was a growing company, and I learned from my experiences there that having a small office has a negative impact, both emotionally and in terms of work efficiency. For that reason, I want us to maintain an organizational structure whereby we are ready to relocate right away, whenever our current office begins to feel even a little undersized.
We will be making efforts to enable us to relocate to a 400 tsubo (approx. 1,322 square meters) roughly three years from now, so I would definitely like to consult with Ken Corporation again at that time!
- 4F & 5F KDC Shibuya Building, 3-9-10 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- September 1, 2016
QSTO Communications provides a specialized in-stream advertisement service named QSTO Move PMP, which delivers high-quality video content together with in-stream advertisements for female-oriented media. The company provides support for appealing effectively about products and services to women in the F1 (age 20 to 34) and F2 (age 35 to 49) demographics, which have become difficult to reach using television commercials. The company also offers video content planning, production, music, video shooting, casting and streaming player services for some video content.
Comment By the Agent
As many people know, in the current market, the number of available properties is becoming very few, and it’s a very difficult market for companies looking to relocate or establish a new office.
That is why I think that we, as real estate professionals, must not only listen to the wishes of our customers, but also work to offer a more proposal-based style of salesmanship.
It was partly due to the fact that QSTO Communications had already formed a favorable impression of Ken Corporation to begin with, and then by having them listen to our various proposals that we were ultimately able to help them sign a lease agreement for this excellent property.
Moving forward, I will continue to invest my energies into providing proposal-based sales, making suggestions that are one step ahead of the market; and working daily to be of use to all of our customers, while also remaining mindful of our founder’s philosophy of “Customer Satisfaction First, Profit Later.”
By the time of QSTO’s relocation three years from now, I hope that I will have grown and developed myself, too!