December 10, 2018

What an Ideal 21st Century Workplace Should Look Like

Article by Micah Weeks

Companies today are realizing the benefits of workplace design, particularly for higher productivity and better employee experience. From Apple’s spaceship campus to Facebook’s quirky headquarter, tech giants are also not behind in featuring some of the coolest office designs.

Gone are those days when an office was just a place to work. The 21st-century office is a place to collaborate, ideate and innovate, says Arsh Chaudhry, chief executive officer, Space Matrix, a Singapore-based design consultancy that specialises in workplace design.

Founded in 2001, Space Matrix has relevant project experience in over 55 cities and 14 office locations in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore (HQ), and the United States. The firm has designed offices of Piramal Group (Mumbai), LinkedIn (Bangalore), ITC Ltd. (Bangalore), AstraZeneca (Chennai), Weber Shandwick (Gurgaon) in India.

Spurring Growth Productivity

Workplace design has a direct correlation to the productivity levels of employees. According to Chaudhry, focusing on wellness aspects of design like thermal comfort, ambient lightning and a biophilic environment can boost employee productivity and reduce attrition.

“Our workspaces are designed to provide the right mix of work style choices (formal vs informal spaces) and to cater to a diverse workforce (introvert vs extrovert) giving them various options for collaborative and focused working which is very important to enhance productivity,” says Chaudhry.

For him, the right integration of technology into the spaces helps the company enhance the functional convenience and usage factor making the office agile and future-proof.

Workplace Of The Future

Standing desk, sit and stand desk, open office plans or cabins, with changing work environment, the workplace settings has also evolved at an interesting stride in the last decade.

Chaudhry too feels workplace design should be ever-evolving.

“There is a revolution happening in workplace design where creativity is being integrated with disruptive technologies like the internet of things, big data and artificial intelligence to create high performing workplaces. The technological advances allow for increased efficiency through new tools to customize spaces, robots and virtually connect rooms,” he says.

Sharing his insights on the workplace trends, Chaudhry adds, “ Standing desk, sit and stand desk will be replaced by smart desk – a desk that studies your work style, reminds you to stand, control temperature, reminds you for meetings and so on.”

Organizations today are increasingly concerned about issues like employee retention, engagement and enhancing productivity.  Chaudhry believes the workplace design needs to address these concerns and cater to a wide mix of audiences, rapidly evolving trends and changes in work style.

“The workplace needs to be future ready and adaptive to changes in terms of demography, spatial design and technology integration,” he adds.

Clients Diving Into Workplace Designs

With major operations in India, Space Matrix is further planning to expand its footprints across Asia. Jaiprakash Aildasani, regional managing director, Space Matrix (India) dished out the top three requests from his top clientsLinkedIn and Piramal Group.

  • The new workspace needed to be in sync with their new global standards, culture and values. The office space had to set the benchmark for their work across the region.
  • Increase the efficiency and productivity of their workplace with customised design solutions.
  • A branded work environment with a lot of collaborative spaces to cater to their increased millennial population.

Piramal Group:

  • The client wanted to create a biophilic space that reflects the ethos of the company. A home away from home that promoted well-being, creativity and productivity.
  • The new office was going to seat 7 verticals of Piramal Group (Healthcare, PCC, Finance etc) under one roof. They wanted a space that defined the different verticals yet acted as an open cohesive space.
  • A balance between informal and formal spaces catering to both employees and visitors.


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Author: Nidhi Singh

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