Masatoshi Shioda, Japan sales director for office furniture company Steelcase Asia Pacific, has a pretty clear idea of what the average Japanese workplace looks like.

“Most traditional Japanese companies use an open-type office with people sitting in lines so that the manager can easily monitor what they’re doing,” Shioda says. “They’re either sleeping or they’re working. That’s how Japanese management works.”

Or, at least, it did until COVID-19 came along.