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How to Build the Coolest Office in Singapore

More and more companies are revamping their offices to create a fun, yet productive, workplace that embraces a whole new architectural concept. This includes shared spaces like gaming or even music rooms, and greenery-infused areas. If you are not yet incorporating these ideas in your office, you are missing out.

The work-life balance is a myth for most Singaporeans where employees here work an average of 45 hours per week, more than South Korea’s 39 and Japan’s 33. This is why office design is important — smartly designed offices promote the welfare of employees, boosts employee retention, ensures lower absenteeism and enhances job satisfaction and creativity. In simpler terms, why would employees work 45 hours a week for your company when there are these companies with the dream offices in Singapore?

Now, I shall assume you landed on this page because your office outlook seems to be tedious and stifling — so how exactly do you liven up your workplace? Or have the coolest office in Singapore?

1. Staff Pantry

Google's pantry
Google’s micro-kitchen (Singapore)
Photo creds: TheSmartLocal
Twitter's pantry
Twitter’s pantry (Singapore)
Photo creds: Twitter
Honestbee's pantry
Honestbee’s whale-shaped pantry (Singapore)
Photo creds: TechinAsia

First up, a pantry.

A pantry is crucial in building a positive workplace culture. Three-quarters of employees feel that a full pantry would make them feel happier at work, and 57% believe it would boost staff morale. A pantry serves as a ground for fellowship between employees, fostering bonding and collaboration. More importantly, it increases productivity by ensuring that employees are kept well-fed, refreshed and satisfied. Here are further reasons why an office pantry is important.

Check out Yahoo News for their list of essentials that a fully stocked pantry should include.

2. Recharge Rooms

Garena's sleeping room
Garena’s sleeping pods (Singapore)
Photo creds: Garena

Coolest office, or cosiest office?

Sleeping rooms may seem like a ridiculous idea for many, but power naps are proven to help jumpstart productivity and alertness. A small, interior room big enough for a hammock or a comfortable couch can do wonders for someone under a deadline or those who have put in some long hours. Though this admittedly might not be applicable to some workplaces, sleeping in a cosy room is no doubt more desirable than sleeping on your table, especially if you are someone who is known to sleep overnight in your office.

If not nap rooms, perhaps a meditation room might be more feasible — all it takes are yoga mats and some music, possibly from our jukebox.

3. Biophilic Design

Inventionland Design Factory's treehouse
Inventionland Design Factory’s office (Pittsburgh)

Humans need to connect with nature. Yet, various studies have concluded that we spend about 90% of our time indoors. With more corporations recognising this problem, biophilic design has been rising in trend.

DBS' office with nature and plants
DBS’ Marina Bay Financial Centre office (Singapore)
Photo creds: TheSmartLocal

Trees, fountains and waterwalls in your office are recommended for spacious offices. For those who reckon that these ideas are far-fetched, here are simpler ways to incorporate nature in your workplace:

a. Natural sunlight
Natural light and scenic views have a major impact on employee wellbeing, productivity and energy levels. You can start by hammering down all your walls and installing full glass panels instead.

b. Potted plants
A simple and obvious solution, plantlife can increase oxygen levels and adds to the workplace vibrance, decreasing mental fatigue. Dengarden has a great list of low-maintenance indoor plants for you. These indoor plants will also improve indoor air quality.

c. Natural features eg. wood and stone
Natural wooden surfaces considerably enhance office feng shui. For instance, you can use wooden furniture, feature wall and desks.

4. Game Room

Govtech's game room with table tennis table
Govtech’s game room (Singapore)
Photo creds: GovTech

Of course, how can we miss out a game room when it comes to building the coolest office?

Having a game room is a shorthand to communicate something about your brand and workplace culture. It’s about team building and de-stressing on a daily basis. Furthermore, it attracts and retains a certain demographic of employees.

Facebook's game room with foosball table and arcade machine
Facebook’s game room (Singapore)
Image creds: Facebook

You may insist that playing is counter-productive, but the ‘work hard play hard’ culture cultivates brighter and more energised employees. In turn, they will produce better work results. Here‘s a further read on why you should invest in a game room.

‘Yes, I could invest in a game room for my office, but what should it include?’ is what I hope is on your mind. Fret not, for The Men’s Cave has a range of affordable products that should be well within your budget; foosball table, table tennis table, and pool table. If not, do consider this consolidated list of items for your game room.

5. Gymnasium

Twitter's corporate gym
Twitter’s gym (Singapore)
Image creds: LifeStyleAsia
The Working Capitol's corporate gym
The Working Capitol’s gym (Singapore)
Photo creds: The Working Capitol

Who needs a fancy gym membership when you have access to gym equipment down the hall from your cubicle? Office life can be sedentary, but it doesn’t have to be. Having workout facilities in your office can encourage your employees to stay active, fit and healthy. Regular exercise keeps employees more motivated and energetic at work. The release of endorphins is favourable as well — some studies reveal that there is a positive correlation between productivity and happiness.

6. Colour Scheme

Did you know that our subconscious reactions to various colours in the office environment can influence behaviour, emotion and state of being? Depending on your nature of work, here are some colours for your consideration:

TBWA Hakuhodo’s office encourages harmony and innovation which is important in any advertising company (Tokyo)

a. Green – balance and growth.
b. Blue – tranquility, clarity and stability.

Uber’s meeting room designed to promote openness and stir discussion (Singapore)
Photo creds: Uber APAC

c. Yellow – positivity and happiness.
d. Orange – success and determination.

TripAdvisor's office with colour scheme
TripAdvisor’s office designed to stimulate mental energy flow (Singapore)
Image creds: OfficeSnapShots

e. Red – passion, mental energy flow.
f. Purple – royalty, luxury and ambition.
g. Black – authority and control.
h. White – purity and cleanliness.

Using colour in office design will not only brighten up your workplace, but will also affect performance. Here’s a more comprehensive post on why you should utilise colour.

7. Slide

Google’s multi-level slide

Want to build the coolest office in Singapore? Be sure to include a slide. On first glance, a slide may sound ridiculous but hear me out. I’m sure you know of Google’s trademark slides in their offices. Similarly, you can never go wrong with a slide; it saves electricity as fewer people use the lift. Imagine making a spectacular entrance at the canteen before everyone else reaches! A slide saves queuing time. Sequentially, this time can be spent more productively (eg. doing work). Most importantly, a slide is just cool. In short, it is the hallmark of any cool office.

Any other crazy ideas? Do share them with us!

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