As a disruptor, modernising Singapore’s insurance industry, g&m wanted to create a uniquely inspiring space for their employees whilst redefining their future way of working.
To future proof the office, our Strategy team determined that an agile office best fit the needs for g&m as it offers dynamism, fosters collaboration, and pivots away from the typical corporate aesthetic.
There were three key objectives for the project.
Firstly, the space had to accommodate g&m’s future growth plans, their changed workstyles post-Covid, and their new strategic divisions’ workflows. Additionally, the space would need to welcome strategic partners, such as brokers and insurance partners, and reflect the g&m brand.
Second, to satisfy g&m’s leadership team’s belief that if you take care of your employees, then they will take good care of your customers. Thus, it was important to create a playful, yet psychologically safe environment, that enables employees to feel creative, enabled and empowered; and a place where they want to come and work.
Lastly, the timing of the project provided an opportunity to re-think the future of work at g&m, to consider the needs of the current and future teams and create a model that would serve as a differentiator when competing for talent.
g&m’s leadership knew they needed to provide an inspiring and creative space for their employees if they wanted to attract them back from their home offices, after having spent the prior 18 months working from home. This required more collaborative spaces, both formal and informal; different workspaces accommodating for varying job scopes; and deep digital infrastructure to make the space truly technology-centric.
A series of internal focus groups, workshops and surveys were created and executed in close collaboration with g&m leadership. These delivered a range of employee perspectives on what employees wanted from their office. Data revealed that 20% of g&m employees wished to work remotely three days a week, while 42% desired remote working five days a week – revealing a broad range of working preferences. Employees also shared that the previous office was overly individualized, focusing too much on everyone having their own desk and lacked sufficient meeting spaces for proper collaboration.
Armed with this data, the Unispace Strategy team designed a new working model for the company that replaces the traditional work model where employees are expected in the office five days a week working from designated workstations.
Today, agile workstations and formal meeting rooms comprise only half the office, with the remaining half dedicated to social space, consisting of a work cafe, flexible scrum spaces, a cozy hide-out library complete with over one hundred books, a whiskey bar, bean bags, and pockets of open collaboration areas.
The multi-functional social spaces can be used for client entertainment events and large meetings, as well as alternative spaces for people to retreat to for both collaborative and individual work. These spaces were carefully constructed at different heights and with different types of seating. Cornered edges were done away with, natural lighting was leveraged where possible, and plants were introduced throughout the office to improve air quality and soften stronger design elements in the background.
Enabling this new working model giving employees the ability to work in a variety of places, an agile style was deployed which overlays new technologies over old spaces. Specifically, office-wide cloud storage was implemented, wireless USB-C charging stations were installed around the different areas to reduce clutter, and all workspaces have wireless conferencing infrastructure. The office no longer uses physical desk phone lines, instead, only cloud-based “soft” phones are available. Being technology-empowered ensures the new workspace is intuitive and easy to move around the office to work in different areas.
On the sustainability front, it was important to the client to ensure the project’s carbon footprint was minimized. Close to 30% of the furniture and 20% of the building elements were reused in order to bring down wastage numbers, with any new purchases being green-marked pieces.
Achieving the client’s desire to create an energetic and creative atmosphere, a striking mural behind the welcome area enlivens the arrival experience and sets the scene for a captivating workplace journey. Values of collaboration and disruption are embedded throughout the spacious and adaptive front-of-house area loaded with an eclectic mix of toys and playful seating arrangements.
As a result, the feedback on the space so far is that it has encouraged people to roam and be mobile, promoting cross-discipline collaboration and knowledge sharing in a diverse range of settings. By focusing on making people more agile, we created alternative places for people to work and meet, ensuring connectivity throughout all spaces. Employees have found new and more productive ways of working as a result.
"Unispace listened to our needs and extracted intel and insights throughout the workplace strategy phase, that enabled the development of our future way of working. We now boast a playful and creative workplace whereby our employees are inspired to deliver five-star customer service, every day. Unispace’s ability to provide cost certainty throughout the project ensured the risk transferred from our business to theirs, which delivered peace of mind and confidence."
Douglas Chia, Chief Executive Officer, g&m