Photo: Koukichi Takahashi/Shutterstock

Procrastination Issues? Tokyo Cafe Doesn’t Let Guests Leave Until They Meet Their Deadline

by Matador Creators Apr 28, 2022

More people than ever discovered the joys of remote work over the past couple of years. They also discovered the downsides, like the blending of work and non-work time, and the endless distractions that can make deadlines difficult to meet. A cafe in Tokyo came up with a novel concept to fix the latter issue: service completely centered around monitoring people until they complete their tasks.

The aptly Manuscript Writing Cafe has 10 seats and serves unlimited self-pour coffee and tea, but no food (customers can order takeout or bring food, however). There’s high-speed wifi and charging ports at every seat. The biggest difference between this and a normal coffeeshop you decide to work in? Staff may stand behind customers and monitor them until they finish what they came to do.

Customers write down their names and goals that they want to accomplish while at the Manuscript Writing Cafe as soon as they enter. It could be blog posts or a book or a comic or whatever other creative endeavor. They choose the level of progress checks they want to receive, ranging from mild (a simple question of if they finished the tasks before they pay) to normal (an hourly check-in) to hard (staff frequently stops and stands behind them while they work).

“The cafe went viral on social media and people are saying the rules are scary or that it feels like being watched from behind,” owner Takuya Kawai told Reuters. “But actually instead of monitoring, I’m here to support them.”

The Manuscript Writing Cafe charges 130 yen (about $1) for the first 30 minutes and 300 yen (about $2.30) for each extra hour. Kawai told Reuters that everyone has gotten their tasks done and that they usually get it done much faster.

If you’re a remote worker and can’t seem to keep your focus, thai might sound like a dream. Or it just might make you stop complaining about the work environment at your local coffeeshop.

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