The new IKEA office in Singapore demonstrates what its relaunched B2B offering provides for companies looking to create that down-to-earth IKEA feel in their own workplaces.
28 April, 2021
Above: IKEA Singapore’s Swedish Steps – arena seating for mass virtual meetings or for casual working and discussions. Image courtesy of IKEA Singapore.
Many thought it was temporary but the pandemic has changed the working dynamics that had seem to work for generations – for good. Though working from home is no longer the default arrangement in Singapore since 5th April this year, not everyone was pleased by the news. In fact, two in five employees want flexibility to work from home and the office after the pandemic, according to a study by Randstand Singapore.
Flexible working arrangement is great. But how do companies increase employee satisfaction while they’re in the office and ensure safety of their work environments? The solution, according to Gwinna Wareewanish, Head of Interior Design, IKEA Southeast Asia who led the revamp of IKEA Tampines’ office space, is to “make life at work as comfortable as being at home.”
IKEA Singapore understands that business is not as usual and hybrid working is the way forward. Thus, the space has been rebuilt to accommodate half of its workforce at any one time, making hot desking possible. By spacing out work areas further apart and creating many small meeting rooms, IKEA Singapore was able to adhere to safe distancing guidelines set out by the government and establish a more conducive work environment even after the pandemic. Automated faucets with sensor function were also installed for a more hygienic, touchless experience.
“Our team was blown away when we came back to work in January,’’ says Mike King, Deputy Managing Director of IKEA Southeast Asia, “and we hope to bring the same experience to other companies. We are excited to relaunch IKEA for Business, our B2B offering, to help companies reinvent their workspaces.’’
Indeed, IKEA Singapore sets to make its office an exemplar of future workspace by prioritising employee well-being. “As with any interior design project, we started with the co-workers’ needs and daily activities in mind,” says Wareewanish. “Then we designed the spaces and created features that took care of those needs.
The new space also offers a variety of flexible spaces to meet and brainstorm, several virtual meeting pods for quick calls and meetings, a cafe-style pantry with mini herb garden, a nursing room for mothers equipped with privacy screens and dedicated fridge, a changing room for athletes, lockers to keep personal belongings, and even a set of monkey bars for those who want a little play in their workday.
“It’s important to improve the spaces to meet, work, think and relax,” says Wareewanish, “and create an environment that inspires people and makes them feel good.” King agrees and adds that IKEA for Business has the recipe to create inspiring, flexible spaces that cater to the new way of working. Though its primary focus now is on offices, IKEA for Business can fit out any business space – from a child care centre to a restaurant. From interior planning services and project coordination, to delivery and installation, IKEA for Business provides a one-stop service to help businesses.
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