By TAMARA JAYNE
Living in today’s world, it’s safe to say that the workplace should be an environment that employees enjoy going to on a Monday morning, rather than a place they dread. After all, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work in his lifetime!
Stepping into Leaderonomics office is nothing short of welcoming and warm. With open concept work spaces and a natural, outdoorsy vibe fused into the office theme, it removes the common cold-structured feel and expectation of how an office should look and feel like.
Our Creative Head (the brains behind our newest office interior design), Lisanne Yeoh shares how she came up with a layout to reflect the culture and vision of the company.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background.
I studied advertising and graphic design in college and have been working in this field since 2001. I have been with this organisation for more than six years now.
Q: How would you describe the culture at Leaderonomics?
Warm, fun, open, and very relational. We are like a family, and it is a culture that is supported by our core values: Empowering, Relationships, Growth, Giving and Building the Future.
Q: How did the office design come about? What was the concept behind it?
Since our first office design was based on our five core values, we wanted this new space – which is really our headquarters – to reflect our vision as we continue to grow and expand.
Hence, we decided to translate our vision of “Growing People into Leaders”, “Building Communities of Love”, and “Transforming the Nation” into our new work space! And my, what a challenge it was!
We worked with an external interior designer on our first office design back in 2012 and the second office in 2014.
As for the newest office, the vendors I approached couldn’t quite grasp the idea. After seeing their first proposal of the layout and presentation, Roshan (Thiran, CEO and co-founder of Leaderonomics) suggested that I design it instead.
We needed to combine practicality and creativity and this also had to fit into our budget. I searched for inspiration online and started piecing together what might work. Having our values and culture in mind, I divided the office space into three parts:
- Growing People into Leaders – This is represented by a ‘stage’ (pic below) area with a 3-tier seating that is big enough to cater to our internal training sessions and all-employee meetings. To maximise space, the doors of the glass meeting room are designed to fully open to the sides to create more space when needed.
- Building Communities of Love – This section is where the workspaces are; where employees interact daily. A fluid design of an organic shape worktable supported by three huge dandelion lights hanging from above represent growth and unlimited possibilities, as we build authentic relationships and create communities of love.
- Transforming the Nation – This is where the senior management seats. It is behind those tinted glass panels that major decisions are made in executing our company vision towards the transformation of our nation.
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Q: How did you incorporate the elements of productivity, creativity and collaboration when designing the office? Can you give an example?
While we believe in an open space concept, we also understand the need for quiet corners for private meetings and discussions.
So, a couple of ‘hidden’ corners and chill out spaces are purposefully included for discussions or just a quiet hideaway when one needs that space to be alone.
We try to incorporate the outdoors, indoors. Besides the wooden floors and artificial grass, you will see light blue ‘skies’ as you look up to the ceiling.
We also made sure we get as much natural light in as we can because natural light affects a person’s mood and productivity.
Research shows that people who worked in offices with windows received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night.
And employees whose offices had no windows or natural light, had poorer outcomes when it came to sleep efficiency, physical health and vitality.
We also added a mini slide as a fun element at the stage area where training sessions and meetings are held.
Q: How did you strike a balance between producing something modern and creative, yet practical?
By being intentional. Every piece of design needs to serve a practical purpose other than just looking pretty. It is pointless to create something beautiful if it isn’t functional, more so in designing an interior space. Practicality is priority!
Q: What was your biggest challenge in designing our office space?
Not having any background or knowledge in interior design, yet having to deal with contractors directly. It was my first time.
A lot of heart, sweat and tears went into this project. The biggest satisfaction and sense of achievement is to see your idea come to life and is currently used by different people on an everyday basis.
Tamara was previously an assistant editor and writer with Leaderonomics. She loves thought-provoking conversations over cups of tea. If she is not writing, you might find her hiking up a mountain in search of a new waterfall to explore.