Say “office” and it would be impossible to escape Microsoft and its vast array of technological solutions. In collaboration with the 105- year old Steelcase, the leading name in workplace experience design, they have premiered a 5,100sqft showcase here in Singapore.
The Steelcase WorkLife Centre is located at Mohamad Sultan Road, and is the first of its kind here in Southeast Asia. It brings on board Microsoft’s technological expertise: in hardware with everything from the 10-inch Surface Go to the 84-inch Surface Hub, and in software with its Office range of productivity, networking and creative applications.
Microsoft’s range of products features prominently in the Steelcase WorkLife Centre. With office workers increasingly disengaged and dissatisfied with their workplaces, and many opting to work from home instead, the Steelcase WorkLife Centre aims to showcase solutions to encourage collaboration and creativity, taking the form of five Creative Spaces.
The first is the Focus Studio. Designed specifically for individual and pair productivity, the Focus Studio encourages focussed, distraction-free work.
Next is the Duo Studio. Vaguely resembling a cockpit, the Duo Studio accomodates a pair working shoulder-to-shoulder, which is perfect for supervision, instruction and collaboration. It includes a lounge area to invite others in for review on the Surface Hub, or for a breather without having to leave the venue.
The Ideation Hub revolves around the Surface Hub with a high seating area up front, and includes an analogue white board to keep ideas organised and up front. A range of furniture follows Steelcase’s obsession with posture and ensuring that it constantly varies.
There’s the Maker Commons, that is a more social setting to facilitate rapid prototyping by encouraging conversation, experimentation and concentration.
Last is the Respite Room, which with its relaxed postures provides individuals the option and opportunity to kick back and reflect. With workers increasingly choosing to work from home, the ability to find private time for rest and rejuvenation at the workplace is attractive.
It’s not just “traditional” creative applications like in advertising, marketing and content creation that’s being targetted. Steelcase shares that a wide assortment of firms – from accounting to finance firms – will benefit from prioritising creativity as a business advantage.
This creativity-centric approach to building a workspace does give advantages in solving problems or finding new business applications, but also in giving workers a sense of belonging and connection to their organisations.
Job satisfaction and having the option to work remotely is a great driver of these changes, but Steelcase research has shown that while there is an increasing need for technological tools like videoconferencing, there is still an overwhelming number of employees hampered and desk-bound by landline telephones and desktop computers.
Cities often have high rental rates and office space is always at a premium. Steelcase believes that by integrating technology and space, and by understanding how people work, organisations can achieve optimal performance through creativity and innovation.
The five Creative Spaces are on display now at the Steelcase WorkLife Centre here in Singapore.