Comment: Creative workspaces are likely to change in post-pandemic Singapore offices


SINGAPORE: Empty swings and exotic vacation-themed meeting rooms, community centers without a constant flow of snacks and coffee – creative spaces and ordinary office cubicles in Singapore have been left empty for months during the pandemic.

The cubicles and open office layouts we know today have been the norm since the turn of the 20th century. But providing creative spaces for employees only started about two decades ago.

Start-ups and disruptive tech companies have since created a buzz by creating inspiring offices and creative spaces to attract, empower and retain creative talent.

Creative spaces have become an integral part of the branding and recruiting strategy of many companies. With industry heavyweights like Google and Facebook in Singapore, there’s often a wave of attention to their new desks, with images of vibrant office equipment and shared spaces to spur the genius within us.

But haven’t we just spent 20 months working in pajamas, facing our own walls and collaborating on virtual workspaces?

Remote working and virtual desktops are likely to stay. Facebook and Amazon have announced plans to offer employees the option to stick with long-term remote work, and Google expects 20% of its workforce to continue telecommuting in 2022.

But according to HSBC’s Future of Work survey, business leaders still see the office as a place where employees can collaborate, access training and socialize.

So how did remote working affect the imagination and creativity that had flourished in the physical office? Will future hybrid working arrangements spell the end of chic creative spaces in the workplace?