Japan Railways keeps projects on track with tonari
Always-on connectivity makes sharing energy and real-time updates much easier when operations are split

JR East

Takanawa Gateway ⇄ Shinjuku
start date

JR East is working on the "Shinagawa Development Project" centering on the Takanawa Gateway Station, a huge city development effort that will reshape the skyline and connection between Tokyo and Haneda Airport. The team behind this effort spread across JR East’s Shinjuku headquarters and a temporary office near the development site in Takanawa.

Challenges and achievements

  • The team was running out of space as they grew, and had to expand to Takanawa. This allowed part of the team to be closer to the project site, but also meant that team members had to travel multiple times per day. It also lead to difficulties in alignment, less collaboration and engagement, and information gaps.
  • tonari gave them the flexibility to work smoothly from both locations, increased the frequency of discussion, collaboration and detailed communication, and allowed them to share excitement, raw energy and immediate feedback between team locations.

Sharing information quickly and naturally regardless of location

As the Shinagawa Development Project progressed and the team expanded, members were traveling back and forth, but the project site and the headquarters were located far apart, causing information gaps.

Quick checkins with my boss or sharing the excitement after an event with my colleagues became harder as our office dispersed. After experiencing tonari today, I immediately felt it will change the way I work. Now I can see my boss's desk in Shinjuku and feel the atmosphere on the other side of the office. I want to have more natural chats and confirmations as if we were in the same space again. Matsushima-san, Shinagawa Kurashizukuri Unit

Creating flexible teams and promoting new ways of working

Even with a team’s expansion across locations, it is possible to implement strategies and foster team growth without being limited by physical location. The ability to meet face-to-face every day has increased the speed of decision-making and revitalised internal communication.

Our company aims to practice time- and location-independent working styles and people-oriented decentralised lifestyles. We believe in starting these by practicing them ourselves. Miwa-san, Executive Officer, JR East and General Manager, Business Creation Headquarters

Developing a ‘new city’

The Shinagawa Development Project aims to become a "Global Gateway" that generates new business and culture from diverse exchanges, and is promoting experimentation in the introduction of mixed-use facilities, disaster prevention coordination, and enriched lifestyles.

Bringing TokyoYard Building’s character and aesthetic to Shinjuku

Because the TokyoYard Building in Takanawa has a stronger aesthetic, we created a more connected feeling by bringing in elements of that design into the Shinjuku space. The table is designed as an extension of an existing piece that flows into tonari and into the Shinjuku headquarters office. The materials and finishes also take hints from the bold red structure of the building in Takanawa, which is fully visible from the Shinjuku side.

JR East’s tonari (Left: Takanawa Gateway, Right:Shinjuku HQ)

The table which visibly connects the spaces also allows for a variety of group sizes to meet around and use tonari together. This can support quick chats and 1:1’s, as well as team meetings that may consist of 3~4 people on either side. For both sides, the table also creates an approachable location for staff to sit close to tonari and encourages easy engagement and communication.

Sharing a vision, velocity, and new ideas

With tonari, JR’s aim is to create an environment where people at either location can communicate seamlessly anytime. We implemented tonari to enable teammates to talk and share information quickly and naturally regardless of their location.

We want to eliminate communication loss and encourage a sense of speed, shared vision, and creation of new ideas as if we were working in the same place. We also want to spread the same sense of mission and "excitement" of the project to other departments so that they can share the same enthusiasm. Amanai-san, Deputy Manager, Business Creation Headquarters

About JR East

JR East is a Japanese railway company that mainly operates passenger railways in East Japan. In addition to their railway business, they also operate a lifestyle service business that deals with commercial facilities and real estate inside stations, as well as transportation electronic money card business. It also expands its operations to various industries such as travel, advertising, warehousing, and publishing.

About tonari

tonari portals unify remote places, providing natural, energizing, face-to-face communication that actually feels like being in the same room.

Contact us to inquire about demos, pricing, and availability for your locations.