According to Jonathan Speary, the global workplace director, the project had two further key objectives.
The second objective was to improve employees’ experience of the workplace by making the environment as ‘frictionless’ as possible so that people could get on with their jobs.
This creates a fascinating yet purposeful contradiction that says a great deal about contemporary progressive approaches to workplace design. Han and her teams wanted to make practical and cost-effective use of the space while understanding that the employee’s experience of a workplace does not exist within normal metrics. Honeywell’s ASEAN Headquarters office needed to achieve 80% utilisation, but it also had to be frictionless.
To achieve these overarching objectives, the organisation leant heavily on its expertise as a technology solution provider. However, it did so clear in the belief that technology in the workplace should ultimately service the people that inhabit it. As part of Honeywell’s Connected Workplace Strategy, the organisation’s own building technology solutions is already at work at the ASEAN Headquarters, integrating with the surrounding physical environment to positive effect. The headquarters boast “smart” ceilings embedded with hundreds of sensors that measure temperature, light, motion and air quality.
Han explains: “Throughout the office, employees can get an overall picture of their environment – the quality of indoor air, energy consumption and savings as well as space utilisation. The Honeywell building technology enable employees to see which spaces or rooms are currently available and which are in use, helping to ensure that the office space is being utilised effectively.”
“Technology’s capacity to create a more people-centric workspace will only continue to grow,” she adds. “We are already working on additional features that will be able to not only adapt to an individual’s needs and preferences, but also, automatically adjust everything from temperature, lighting and automated door entries.”
The new Kuala Lumpur office also features a “Solutions Centre” where employees can drop by the ‘bar counter’ with their IT concerns and problems, akin to how mobile enthusiasts drop by the all-white ‘Genius Bar’ with their smart phone problems. Having found that employees preferred face-to-face interactions when asking for IT help, Honeywell wanted the new centre to give employees the same friendly vibe that they get when asking for help from a hotel concierge service team.
Away from technology, how the new office was going to be laid out was an important factor in determining the overall design. The layouts in previous Honeywell offices in Malaysia were consumed with individual offices, cubicles, and very few amenities. Although employees worked side by side, it was obvious that their space needs were often conflicted.