Discussing the future of workplace design on two panels at WORKTECH18 Hong Kong
Bringing innovative ideas and inspiration to the workplace community, this year’s WORKTECH conference in Hong Kong invited several speakers from M Moser to share anecdotes of their workplace design expertise on two separate panels.
Google’s workplace design journey
Moderated by M Moser’s Group Managing Director and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) John Sellery, the first session of this one-day event centred on Google’s workplace transformation journey in Hong Kong with Managing Director Leonie Valentine and M Moser designers, Robert Dani and Alex Watkins.
Emphasising the importance of being relevant to local culture, Leonie Valentine addressed two key elements that helped shape Google’s new workplace: community and accessibility. “One of the most important tasks as Managing Director of this office is to make Google relevant for Hong Kong,” Valentine said. “We pay attention to the communities we’re in and the types of Googlers we have in our office.”
She highlighted the team’s focus on creating an environment that would best reflect the needs of the people it serves internally and from across the city. Inspired by Italian piazzas and courtyards, the design of the new Google office has brought to life a people-centric workplace that delivers on the company’s vision of bringing communities together and encouraging cross-functional collaboration.
In a metropolis as active as Hong Kong where space is limited, M Moser’s Robert Dani stressed the significance of building office spaces that can accommodate the requirements of people by considering any physical limitations during the design-thinking process. Using accessibility as one of the two elements that directed the design of Google’s office, he provided examples of how workplaces can best provide for people with disabilities. Signage, for instance, can help visually impaired visitors navigate the office more efficiently, while increasing the width of hallways can improve wheelchair access. Dani emphasised the importance of approaching workplace design from the perspective of all users.
Addressing activity and designing for people, Senior Designer Alex Watkins continued the dialogue with a valuable insight: engaging with the wider Google community throughout the research phase uncovered wellness details that drove the design of the social spaces within the office. By incorporating local history and an activity-based lifestyle, the new Hong Kong workplace successfully adapts to the company’s evolving culture.
Gen Y & Z: Perspectives of the future leaders
How can companies ensure that they have the right culture in place to attract, retain, and empower talent? This question took centre stage at our second panel joined by M Moser’s Senior Client Services Manager, Aurelie Pillot, who shared her views on an office environment that encourages mobility: “The design of a space can highly influence your behaviour,” she said. “As soon as I was free from my desk with a laptop and a company that supports the use of technology to communicate, I felt more empowered and confident to take ownership of my work.”
Pillot also emphasised the recruitment capabilities of a workplace that can aesthetically speak to the culture and personality of the office environment. Speaking from her own experience, she asserts that a great first design impression can facilitate the on-boarding process by enabling new talent to decide whether the company is the right fit for their own career aspirations.