Sony has showcased a first-look inside its Osaka Office, which is dedicated to CMOS image sensor development and has been designed by the engineers who work there to cultivate a positive and stimulating work environment that breaks from traditional Japanese corporate structure.
First launched in April 2020, the Osaka Office is the center for Sony Semiconductor Solutions that focuses on CMOS image sensor design and development and is responsible for Sony’s Imaging and Sensing Solutions business.
The company holds the top share of the global market in CMOS image sensors, which are widely used for smartphones, digital cameras, and other consumer devices, and the Osaka Office attracts engineers from the Kansai region in south-central Japan who are dedicated to developing this technology further.
The “engineer-first office” concept is reflected in how the engineers themselves designed the office space, which reflects a layout that enables them to work comfortably and efficiently. The video tour also describes a new working style, called Activity-based Working (ABW) where employees have the choice on which place to use for their work which is based on the type of job they are doing at the time.
Sony explains that this process is expected to create a powerful synergy by allowing engineers from different expert areas to work together as well as to stimulate imagination and promote communication.
Sony interviewed workers who have experienced the new office first-hand, such as Kazuhiro Hata, Image Processing Algorithm Engineer, Yuhei Yoshimoto, Logic Control Unit Block Leader, and Yoshihide Komatsu, Analog Design Technica Leader, who all found the environment positively encouraging of communication and collaboration, as well as supporting of employees of all levels of experience.
The office interior features furniture that has been chosen with comfort in mind, such as seating areas that are welcoming or standing high desk areas and seminar rooms that can work well for workers who want to have a discussion or present material.
For those wanting a quieter corner, the office has dedicated quiet work areas where engineers can focus on the task at hand without being interrupted. The engineers working at Osaka Office have also designed the locker room to hold nameplates with facial photos hung on the wall which indicated who is in the office and who isn’t.
The rest of the facilities at the office have a variety of chairs, as well as the height and angle-adjustable desks so that everyone can find a suitable place to work or engage in discussion, seeing as none of the employees have a designated and fixed desk and are free to choose where and how they work.
While this kind of workplace may not seem totally out of the ordinary to western viewers, it breaks with years of Japanese corporate business structure and represents a bold step in a new direction culturally. To see the company embrace a shift from what is normally a rigid and strict environment denotes a big step for any Japanese company, even more so for one such as Sony.