Insights

Reimagining the future workplace in Southeast Asia

M Moser’s holistic workplace specialists examine the latest business and real estate challenges, exploring new design concepts and answering key questions about the region’s unfolding nature of work.

2020-10-01

By Stephen Lyon
Regional Director, Head of Office, Singapore – Singapore, Manila

and Matthew Burke
Director - Singapore – Singapore

and Jet Brillantes
Associate Director, Client Services – Singapore, Manila, Melbourne, Sydney

and Simon Paddison
Director - Design, International – Singapore

and Bhavna Singhal
Senior Associate, Strategy & Change – Singapore

How much space do we really need? What are the benefits of repurposing and refurbishing? How can we support physical and psychological workplace well-being?

As businesses across Southeast Asia return to the workplace and recognise there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Having a flexible, functional platform with a clear workplace strategy is critical to supporting health and wellness, motivating future progress, and reimagining normality. 

Our recent global workplace survey indicates that a large proportion of employees prefers a hybrid approach. They are looking for a balance between time spent in the corporate office and time working from home. To support organisations looking to reconsider their work environment – from space planning and refurbishment to repurposing or relocation – our experts in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines have reimagined the future workplace using evidence based metrics and learnings.

The result uncovers a major shift in focus towards health and wellbeing as the anchor of workplace design. This means decisions are driven by users and the required behaviours influencing individual, team, and business success.

Supporting diverse needs

Understanding the purpose of employee activities and their desired outcome will play a crucial role in creating a “blended workplace experience”. With behaviour based design as its guiding principle, the blended workplace carefully balances individual needs with engaging and meaningful spaces. It also supplements the home as an additional work setting.

There is a strong likelihood that knowledge workers will continue to adopt some level of remote working. Considering this, the future office will be much more adaptable to support different forms of individual work and collaborative needs. It will not longer require staff to make use of their facilities within one physical space “out of necessity”.

These changes will strongly influence both the design and footprint of workspaces, particularly factors such as:

  • The home will be seen as an extension of the office amongst a variety of other work settings;
  • Space types in the office design will focus on group-based settings;
  • Functional and location flexibility will require the appropriate technology and tools to ensure staff can remain connected and productive;
  • A greater headcount can be considered, whilst preserving experiential density, as a result of some staff working remotely;
  • Organisations will cast a wider net for talent;
  • Real estate strategy will continue to play a central role for companies rethinking personnel practices to build resilience and drive value.

Existing lease arrangements will be scrutinised to evaluate future demands with a flexible commercial model in mind. The office will become a distinct destination and experience. It will serve as a hub to unite people, evoke culture, and bring corporate mission to life.

Combining the physical, digital and social inclusion aspects of work can enable seamless integration across all platforms, regardless of location. Reigniting individual and collective business purpose, the “blended workplace” provides flexible opportunity to support the ways in which people work best.

Creating safe and inclusive spaces

Physical safety remains of paramount importance during such challenging times. However, the pandemic has also brought psychological health to the fore. The future office will demand a people-first approach.

Spaces will be designed to inspire creativity while supporting physical, mental and social wellbeing. This approach will have a tremendous impact in shaping the financial and reputation health of the organisation.

As workplace designers, we must provide a considered and accessible workspace for all. This will enable the ongoing, inclusive transformation of place, people and culture. Companies that provide a variety of settings based on type of work, team and individual needs will experience long-lasting benefits. Building inclusivity into the fabric of the workplace can support and maintain a universal approach to design.

Building a sustainable future

We expect to see increased demand for sustainable buildings and working communities that promote healthy lifestyles. Priorities will focus on improving indoor air quality and natural material standards. This will also extend to providing greater access to local amenities and natural outdoor spaces.

Balancing business performance and health has always been critical. At this time of global disruption, organisations must be proactive in reshaping the agenda.

Research demonstrates that a shared vision and sense of purpose can drive greater organisational engagement and effectiveness. It’s time to re-think the workplace to address an ongoing shift in the “new normal”. We must embrace every opportunity to innovate the future.

Supported by M Moser’s global experience in delivering progressive workplace environments that address human and business needs, our Southeast Asia team incorporates a broad range of professional expertise to develop tailor-made workplace solutions across the region. Combining in-house capabilities in strategy, design, sustainability & wellness, engineering, and brand experience, we look forward to supporting your business as we reimagine the workplace.
To learn more, please contact:

Regional Director - Stephen Lyon

Director, Design International - Simon Paddison

Director – Matthew Burke

Associate Director, Client Services – Jet Brillantes

Associate Director, Strategy & Change – Bhavna Singhal

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