Landor & FITCH Greater China Executive Director Janice Siu recently spoke on why workplace is critical to workplace design to Classified Post Hong Kong.

“The workplace of the ‘20s is not only collaborative but can also act as a branding flashpoint.” Siu said. With digital technology enabling us to work from anywhere in the world and a surge in the number of people using co-working spaces, the traditional office setup is steadily being replaced by more collaborative working spaces, where brainstorming pods and lounge areas decked out with sofas encourage employees to innovate before recharging their batteries.

Reflecting Brand Values

Businesses should recognise that the workplace provides an opportunity to connect employees to the brand’s core values, says Siu. “Workspace design is a discipline and mindset that connects office design to the brand. It dictates the journey, the overall experience and ensures that the brand’s values and function are reflected in the physical and digital space.”

Creating a workplace that reflects your brand means you must first decide exactly what you stand for, she says. Once that message is clear, firms can create an internal brand engagement programme, which may include recognising, rewarding and incentivising staff who embody your brand values. Brand engagement activities like town hall meetings, installing brand image walls, and brand videos will additionally reinforce the message, she adds.

Communicating brand values across isn’t always about grand gestures, or elaborate campaigns. Siu recalls that when she went to visit BP’s HQ in London, it had an aloe vera plant in the reception area to express one of its core brand values of being green. Ultimately, it’s all about reinforcing the brand promise. “If you do it consistently, you create a sense of belonging. But it’s a journey, and you have to make sure that the employee really understands your brand.”

Siu believes that employees play a key role in getting the brand message across. “I think people are your brand. If people enjoy working for you, they naturally become your brand ambassadors. Your staff are your working brand. And if the brand experience is positive, they will embrace, walk and talk the brand.”

Managers looking to transform their workplace should appreciate that the benefits are from cosmetic. “Remember that workplace design isn’t just about looking more modern, or even making the space more agile. It’s the flashpoint of your brand, something that demonstrates your brand promise and culture.”

Microsoft Asia-Pacific HQ, Singapore

Designed by FITCH in partnership with SLA, Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific HQ in Singapore at Frasers Tower is intended to reimagine the future of working environments by catering to individual employee needs and empowering a collective culture within the workplace. It embodies an approach usually used in flagship retail, where people ‘walk into the brand’ and the employees are part of the brand experience.

To create a workplace that breaks away from traditional and corporate spaces, FITCH created an interior based around unique ‘villages’ to give each area more identity and a human scale. As technology is at the heart of Microsoft, FITCH and SLA designed a Growth Core, an interactive digital & physical content wall that runs vertically through the six floors to connect the Microsoft community, communicating everything from its values and philanthropic initiatives to its service and product developments.

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By Janice Siu, Executive Director at Landor & FITCH Greater China

The expertise of LANDOR & FITCH APAC.

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