Believing that offices are the manifestation of the beliefs and values of its inhabitants, elevators, escalators and automatic building doors provider, KONE designed its new office in Singapore to reflect the global nature of the organisation.

Unveiled last December and located on the top floor of MapleTree Industrial New Hi-Tech Space, the 25,000 sqft office houses KONE's regional headquarters and Singapore country office, project engineering, a 24-7 customer call care centre, and sales and service support operations.

With employee engagement being a key focus for the firm, the work space aids in fostering and sustaining a culture of collaboration, aptly showcasing the company's commitment to employee engagement.

In fact, in this exclusive with Priya Sunil, Axel Berkling, Executive Vice President, Asia-Pacific, KONE Corporation and Rouru Minna, Area HR Director, Asia Pacific, KONE revealed that the firm has had a high employee engagement index in the last few years - even higher compared to the other high performing companies in this region.

Read on to find out the key aspects they kept in mind when designing the office.

Q What spurred your company’s decision to create this office concept?

An office is the manifestation of the beliefs and values of its inhabitants. Our desire was for our office to reflect the global nature of our organisation. To achieve this, we divided our office into areas and named them after the capital cities of countries in which KONE is present. Through this, our employees in Singapore get a bigger picture of the common goal that KONE is striving for globally.

It is in our DNA to get people from where they are to where they want to be and it is only natural for our office space to reflect that. KONE has built a strong business foundation in Asia Pacific and foresees tremendous growth opportunity in the region.

This economic growth brings with it a demand for buildings that are smart, sustainable and flexible and we want to stay true to our ability to enable that for ourselves and our clients.


How does creating an innovating and interactive workplace help with the company culture?

We think the workplace is ultimately an expression of the company culture that already exists within a company.
An office is a place where employees walk in with ambitions, hopes and dreams. The resulting personal achievements act as the foundation upon which an organisation can be built.
For example, our People Flow Experience Centre is a testament to our commitment to receiving constant feedback from our stakeholders.

At our office in Singapore, we have a very open layout and a hot desk policy that encourage interactions among our employees. The increased communication between teams helps foster a collaborative spirit at KONE. It is also important to realise that the decision to have an open layout office is more nuanced than it seems as not everyone finds an open environment conducive for work.

We accommodate these individuals through the provision of "silent zones" where phones are not allowed and employees can enjoy a peaceful corner to focus on their task. There are numerous facts about the company, adorning the various walls, that familiarise employees with history and accomplishments of the company. It instills a sense of pride in the employees which further motivates them to perform well.


Q Does it help improve productivity, and why?

A recent report published by Gallup showed that 85% of the global workforce is disengaged at work, causing companies to lose approximately US$7tn in lost productivity. Employees need to feel a sense of belonging to the company that they work for. With the rise of remote working, employees are able to disconnect from the workplace and the company easily.

An engaging and well-designed office space can help create belonging through collaborative, open spaces that facilitate relationship building between teams and employees.

At KONE, employee engagement has been our key focus and we in Asia Pacific,  have had a high employee engagement index in the last few years. The score that we have received is higher compared to the other high performing companies in this region. This clearly is an indication that our employees believe in us and are our strong advocates.

Hence, we also need to make sure we create a workplace that helps us sustain this culture. The new office space also help us cultivate better collaboration and bring in more fun into the way we work.





Q What advice would you give other companies that are planning to redecorate their offices?

As mentioned earlier, the office space should reflect the personality of the organisation. Organisations should always keep an eye on the practicality of the design, which departments should sit together, how many meeting rooms are required as well as any specific need of the people working in specific functions that need to be addressed.

In addition to this, we should make the best use of the resources available, a place filled with natural light always makes the atmosphere less stressful.

An office should inspire people to become the best version of themselves, the key aspects that should be kept in mind are to make the workplace inspiring, stimulating and collaborative.
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Photos / KONE