SG Companies Redesign Or Renovate Their Offices

SG Companies Redesign Or Renovate Their Offices Amidst COVID-19

SINGAPORE – Businesses in the city-state are redesigning or have revamped their offices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, reported The Straits Times on Monday morning (25 January, SGT).

For instance, the newly renovated workspace of digital marketing company First Page Digital features alternate-desk arrangement with seats at least 2 metres apart. They also installed a basketball arcade machine and created meeting rooms that let in lots of sunlight.

Notably, the firm transferred from a 2,000 sq ft workspace to a 5,500 sq ft office in 2020. It also doubled its number of employees that year to 50, but less than 25 are at the workplace at any time.

First Page Digital finished the revamp of its new office in Robinson Road last April, and then its workers returned under an alternate-week set-up by June 2020 during Singapore’s Phase II re-opening.

Apart from having more phone booths, meeting rooms, and areas for discussions, the company plans to create more collaborative spaces at its office.

“Face-to-face human interactions always spark creative and passionate brainstorming sessions. Working from home is no doubt safer but people do tend to hide behind the monitor or camera and not contribute,” said First Page Digital’s General Manager Shane Liuw.

Similarly, DBS Bank’s Group Head of corporate property strategy & administration Erwin Chong explained that office design will adapt to the new normal, but it will still come with facilities for collaboration as workers still need to come together physically to achieve things.

In 2016, the financial firm started to redesign its workplaces in the city-state and other select offshore markets into “Joyspaces”, which comes with social areas, quiet rooms, and places for open collaboration.

“Joyspaces break away from traditional expectations of what an office should look like and offer employees flexibility and choice,” Chong noted.

Since then, the bank has transformed over 60 percent of its workplace across the world into Joyspaces. It plans to convert its remaining offices into such in the next 2 to 3 years, and this is expected to benefit all of its 29,000 staff.

Meanwhile, insurance firm Great Eastern has tested a new office design on one level at its Great Eastern @ Changi building. The workspace comes with open-concept collaboration spaces, and video-conferencing facilities, as well as meeting rooms with wireless projection & motion sensor lights.

“Given the successful pilot, we will progressively roll out this new workspace design to the rest of the organisation over the next two years,” said Great Eastern’s Managing Director of group human capital James Lee.

Law firm Dentons Rodyk also intends to redesign some parts of its workspace in 2022 to try out some concepts before potentially renovating its entire office.

“We are envisioning more open spaces and sharing of workstations and partner rooms. To encourage collaboration and interaction among personnel, we are also considering ideation spaces and more war rooms for litigation and arbitration preparation,” noted Dentons Rodyk’s COO and Senior Partner Loh Kia Meng.

Furthermore, Fujitsu Asia plans to reconfigure its office progressively from May 2021 to foster more “cross-learning experiences” and face-to-face discussions, but it could slash its office footprint by as much as half.

“The office will not be a space just to work but a place to connect. Fundamental to the success of this is a corporate culture change based on employee autonomy and trust to maximise team performance and improve productivity,” added Fujitsu Asia’s President Motohiko Uno.

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