'Workcation' is a phrase coined for working while on vacation which allows office workers to visit different places and enjoy sightseeing between work. It encourages them to take longer vacations even if they need to attend important meetings. Given the state of the world under the global pandemic, it is gaining attention as a new style of work and is beginning to spread in Japan. However, there are still a few companies that have taken the plunge.
Meanwhile, "BIGLOBE Inc.BIGROBE Co., Ltd." (hereinafter referred to as "BIGROBE"BIGLOBE) is taking an advanced approach to workcation. They are verifying and researching the health effects of workcation based on scientific experiments.
"TRY ONSEN WORKCATION in Beppu" was held from July 7th to 9th, 2021 as part of BIGLOBE's "Worcation Demonstration Experiment". Nine companies from Tokyo and Oita participated in the workshop.
This program includes a "space business" workshop which will highlight the significance of Oita's new spaceport as being Asia's very first spaceport.
What kind of impact will workcation in the hot spring city area, Beppu, have on the participants? Let’s find out.
Participants gathered at the venue, Beppu City "B-Con Plaza". First off, a "health check" has begun to quantify their current health situation.
First one is a blood pressure check.
Next, hold a white kit and measure the stress level. The amount of amylase in saliva tells you how much stress you have. It seems to diagnose that stress is almost none at 0 to 30, mild at 31 to 45, moderate 46 to 60, and severe over 61.
Participants were overwhelmed by the numbers displayed, as the results were visible immediately.
Secondly, attach a device to the tip of your finger to measure the blood condition.
You can see peripheral blood circulation, autonomic balance, blood vessel age and blood vessel aging rate. Some people got a numbers much younger than their actual age, while others had a worse results than expected.
The final health check is a measurement of motor function. Walk on the tape measure with a stride to measure body balance, hip flexibility, and leg strength.
Bend forward to check the flexibility.
What kind of changes in the numbers will be brought about by the way they spend their workcation, such as bathing in hot springs or sightseeing? I'm looking forward to the results!
After the health check, Mr. Takeshi Ariizumi, President of BIGLOBE, gave an opening remark.
"We are aiming for a "Thriple winGood in three sides" workation. The three sides are companies, employees, and hot spring areas.
Is it possible to relieve employee stress by staying overnight in a hot spring area? Is it possible to contribute to the health of the company by reducing the stress of employees? Can hot spring areas become more active and meet the needs of non-tourists? I would like to demonstrate that these can be achieved by workmcation in hot spring areas.
Corporate welfare is indispensable for revitalizing workcation. With the cooperation of many companies, we would like to verify and demonstrate the effect before and after, collect data on how much the numerical value will improve, and generalize it.
Workcation is also an unexpected meeting place. I want you to make new encounters and make use of them in the future. "
Shizuka Kanno, who has been involved in advertising and regional revitalization consulting, moved to Beppu in 2019. She defines the ancient Japanese cure, hot springs, as "a quiet time to reconsider her body and mind," and continues her activities to spread it.
Hot springs are the universe!
Ms. Kanno says, "Hot springs are rainwater." A hot spring comes from rain which is warmed by magma, receives minerals through a fault, and springs out. It is connected to water, nature, the earth, the sea, and the sky. She once again felt that "hot springs are just the universe!"
How to enter Beppu Onsen & Tips for Hot Spring
There are many public hot springs in Beppu, and you can enjoy a wide variety of hot springs for about 100 to 200 yen. The communal hot spring is a "bath" that locals go to every day. If you say hello and enter, you will be able to understand. Introducing the rule that you should bring soap and towels and not put your butt on the edge of the bathtub.
There are many communal hot springs in Beppu, and you can enjoy a wide variety of hot springs for about 100 to 200 yen. The communal hot spring is a "bath" that locals go to every day. If you say hello and enter, you will be able to understand. Introducing the rule that you should bring soap and towels and do not put your butt on the edge of the bathtub.
"The hot springs are the best time to listen to your mind and body and ask yourself. In the morning, the hot springs dominate the sympathetic nerves to awaken the body and brain, and in the evening, the lukewarm waters dominate the parasympathetic nerves which help to have a good sleep. After talking about the basics of hot springs, there was a commentary on cases where you should not take a bath.
"It's Beppu that if a person walks, it finds a hot spring as a flying crow always catches something. Please find your favorite hot spring," she told the participants.
※Click here for details on the Space Business Workshop: https://gensen-beppu.com/en_blog/spj-workshop/
Next, there was a lecture "From Oita to Space-Latest Information on Spaceports in the World and Spaceport City Concept-" related to Oita Airport, which was selected as Asia's first "Spaceport".
The lecturer is Mr. Hidetake Aoki, co-founder & director / space evangelist of the general incorporated association Spaceport Japan (hereinafter referred to as SPJ).
The overall picture of the space business, the role of the spaceport, the latest situation of spaceports and space travel, and how local residents will be involved in the business. Participants listened seriously to the content so that everyone could see the space business as their own.
It seems that we were able to feel the connection between the space industry and us, and sowed a lot of ideas that could be hints for entering the business. Many positive impressions were received from the participants, such as "it was interesting" and "I want to think about what I can do".
This is the end of the first day workcation program. We headed to the hotel and spent the night of our dreams.
Workcation participants who spent their favorite night on the first day. On the morning of the second day, we will meet again at Beppu City's B-Con Plaza from 9 o'clock.
※Click here for details on the Space Business Workshop: https://gensen-beppu.com/en_blog/spj-workshop/
The second day of "TRY ONSEN WORKATION in Beppu" starts from the space business workshop. The lecturer is Mr. Toshihiro Katayama, co-founder and director of SPJ.
Companies and individuals in Tokyo and Oita, as well as specialized teams from the Oita Prefectural Office are also participating. The purpose of the workshop is to evolve the "Oita Spaceport City Concept" and "set goals for participants (individuals / society)".
The first part is the time for people from different companies to form a group and share ideas for the Spaceport City concept. In the second part, people from the same company gathered and summarized "business ideas based on the discussions in the first half," "contact points between solving their own problems and business planning," and "realizing in the long term."
At the end, we announced the contents summarized for each group. Mr. Aoyama and Mr. Katayama of SPJ gave various evaluations based on the current situation and future of the space business.
The concept of the space business by the participants has just begun in this workshop. It seems that the space industry, which used to be another person's affairs, became an opportunity to become oneself with great expectations and motivation.
After fully rotating the brain at the workshop, move to the iron ring and have Jigoku Mushi lunch time. The Kannawa area of Beppu City is a hot spring resort that has prospered as a hot spring resort since ancient times. You can enjoy the quaint scenery of steam rising from all over the city.
Under such circumstances, Beppu's famous "Jigoku Mushi" is served. It is a simple and healthy specialty dish where you can steam the ingredients with the fumarole of a hot spring. We inhaled the ingredients of the hot springs, such as seafood, meat, vegetables, and eggs, and chewed on the delicious ingredients to make the story bloom.
After finishing the meal, the program for the second day is over. The rest is your free time.
Participants who spent their free time working, hot springs, sightseeing, etc. from the afternoon of the previous day. The program on the third day, which is the final day, only leaves a "health check".
I asked some people about the results of the health check. In the diagnosis by saliva, it seems that there were changes that appeared in the data even for only 2 nights and 3 days, such as those who improved the stress value from 33 to 10 and those who improved from 26 to 5. There was also a report that the values of forward bending and maximum stride were improved.
I will be traveling to Hiroshima October 2-3. This will be an opportunity to reaffirm our strong bilateral relations. Looking forward to talking directly to the Hiroshima people.
Later, there was a comment, "I usually get tired and full after returning from workcation, but this time I was able to work from the morning and realized the lightness of my body at the gym after a long time!" The official figures for the total will be announced at a later date, but it seems that some participants had a positive effect on workcation.
Participants who enjoyed sand baths, steam baths, and other hot springs said, "If the cost can be borne by the company, it is okay to have a welfare program that allows workcation to be carried out once a year." there was.
Workcation of "Good in three sides" in the hot spring area Beppu. It was this "TRY ONSEN WORKATION in Beppu" where expectations were raised that people's exchanges and businesses would be born and developed through the hot springs. Workcation data in hot spring areas will be accumulated more and more in the future, and visible effects will be demonstrated.
The day when workcation is recognized as one of the future work styles and one of the welfare programs may be near.
◆Article translation: EGUSA Reishi (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University)
◆Article writing and editing: Mako Mudanu