Sompo Japan shares resources across locations with tonari
Connecting big offices to provide smaller teams with greater resources, access to management and back-office support


Choshi ⇄ Narita
start date

As an industry leader, Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (SOMPO Japan) has been quick to digitize. An organisational restructure meant that an insurance claims team had to be distributed between two locations to serve customers in their respective areas. Staying in close touch required members to travel between offices several times per week.

Challenges and goals

  • Being distributed put a lot of burden on the smaller team in Choshi; staff needed to be be in sync and obtain approvals from other managers and admin staff on a daily basis. Managers in Narita had limited visibility over the Choshi team and their general wellness
  • tonari creates one team and culture across offices, allows for easy communication of detailed information and caters for both specific 1:1 & larger group discussions

tonari enables intuitive communication

The Narita and Choshi offices of SOMPO Japan's Narita Insurance Services division were merged after an organisational restructuring. However, a challenge arose in maintaining communication between employees as the offices were located far apart. With the ability to hold meetings with a large number of people as well as one-on-one meetings as if they were face-to-face, employees can now work with a sense of unity and peace of mind even at remote locations.

We used to communicate with remote teams via text using multiple tools, which sometimes took a lot of time and effort and sometimes did not convey our intentions correctly. I’m happy we can hold regular meetings as well as seminars together. Isono-san, Narita Claims Service Department, Choshi

Easy discussion of detailed information

With tonari, distant offices can be seamlessly connected as if they were one, which leads to highly productive collaboration among employees and an improvement in engagement, and job satisfaction. Detailed checks and reviews of paper documents, which were only together at desks side-by-side, can now be done over tonari.

It is very intuitive to use. It is possible to quickly check the status of inquiries as if you were in the same room, or have detailed discussions while looking at materials, so you can follow up without having to go to Choshi as much as before! Izumi-san, Manager, Narita Claims Service Department, Narita

Overcoming the burden of dispersion

Being distributed put a lot of burden on the smaller team in Choshi; staff needed to be be in sync and obtain approvals from other managers and admin staff on a daily basis. tonari provides a more open and flexible form of communication between the team members on both sides, allowing for quick discussions and checks to be made, and more quickly to move along processes that would be slower if done using phone calls, email, or other digital communication tools.

A design that considers their unique challenges

For Sompo’s space, our design considered unique challenges due to the size difference between the two locations and their needs for paper document sharing.

Sompo Japan’s tonari (Left: Choshi, Right: Narita)

Within Choshi, tonari is used specifically by one team, and was designed to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. The surrounding desk layout accommodates the teams need for visibility whilst also allowing for choice if focus is wanted. A punch of color helps to activate the space, with soft finishes to make the tonari area comfortable and welcoming within its tighter restrictions.

In Narita, tonari is integrated into a more open workspace. Therefore the design uses the same soft finishes with a more open approach for the local team to be visible, but also distanced from the main desks for staff to have sufficient privacy for 1:1 discussions.

Face-to-face without travel

Even after the merger of their branch offices, the Narita Insurance Service Department still needed to provide services to customers in various regions, requiring them to travel back and forth between Narita and Choshi via six-hour round trips. By connecting both locations with tonari, they are now able to have face-to-face meetings without the need to travel.

Through tonari, we believe that the disadvantages of working at a distance can be minimized by sharing the same space and time, even if the locations are far apart. As a result, we expect that employees will be able to work with a sense of unity and peace of mind, even when working at multiple locations separated by great distances, leading to increased work efficiency and productivity. Miura-san, Director of Real Estate, Human Resources Department

About SOMPO Japan

SOMPO Japan is an industry-leading insurance company that has been quick to embrace digitalisation and sustainable development goals (SDGs) in line with their company slogan “Innovation for Wellbeing”.

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.