What’s it like to telework from a luxury express liner? 

Teleworking is perhaps the ultimate trend of the pandemic, and now that there are lots of different options for working remotely–like a private room in a gourmet restaurant–, you no longer have to shut yourself at home.

JR East recently offered a program where you could rent a space in the Narita Express Series E259, one of Japan’s nicest and coolest express trains. The program was called “Telework on the N’EX”, and was available at Platform 8 of Shinagawa Station, which is an extra platform used for special events and unusual train schedules.

Our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma happened to see an ad for this opportunity while on another train, and pretty much immediately made a reservation online to use it for 30 minutes for 440 yen (US$3.86).

Essentially, the event opened up the 6-car Narita Express as a shared office space. The cost to reserve a spot was 220 yen for every 15 minutes. Seating was open throughout the train, but because of social distancing, users were only allowed to sit in the window seat (seats A or D only). Each seat reclined and had a drink holder, tray, outlet, and Wi-Fi access.

They offered the same program last year at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Station, and it turned out to be so popular, the staff was almost overwhelmed with guests. It makes sense; with opportunities for international travel low for everyone right now, it’s the best chance to experience the N’EX and all its coolness. Just look at the interior!

Plus, it was completely empty, which was a total win for Masanuki.

He was excited, not only because he had the whole car to himself, but because he started to feel like he was going on vacation. This was a bit of a problem, though, because he also sort of felt like he didn’t want to do any work.

But Masanuki was diligent, and he found a window seat and set himself up to do a little bit of work. As far as the usefulness of the space goes…well, it was pretty average, about as comfortable and convenient as you would expect. If you’re just looking for a temporary space to work in for a change of pace, it’s perfect.

When he had five minutes left to spare of his 30-minute reservation, Masanuki packed up his gear and decided to explore the rest of the train. When he got to the Green Car, the extra comfortable, much more expensive part of the train, he was rather surprised by what he found.

Since the seating was completely open, that meant you could sit in the luxury Green Car without an extra surcharge–which naturally made it the most popular place to sit. But it was super nice in there. The seats were made with real leather, and they even had footrests. Masanuki had just a few minutes left but decided to try out the feel of the Green Car seats before leaving.

What a difference! Masanuki could understand why there were so many people in this car. The Green Car seats were far more comfortable, and it was a lot easier to focus on work in those seats…even though he only tested it out for a minute or two.

This was, by the way, part of a promotion for JR East’s Station Work program, which offers capsule offices in stations and in mobile hotels where people can work in between train departures. With outlets and Wi-Fi included, it was a great option for a change of pace! Though this particular event is over now, you can still find Station Work capsule offices in some of Tokyo’s biggest stations, so if you find you’re pulling your hair out working from home, why not check them out?

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