The Ricoh’s Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Singapore exemplifies the future of workspaces by integrating a smart office approach via Ricoh digital solutions and an effective ABW concept.

As a global technology provider, Ricoh strives to improve work-life through empowering digital workplaces with high-tech solutions. To infuse the company’s core values into the design of their Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, MGroup employed two key elements aimed at optimising space usage and boosting productivity.

First, an activity-based working (ABW) concept, which divides the office space into four main zones:  workstations, the e-Cafe, meeting spaces, and collaborative areas. The second, a suite of smart office solutions with an ecosystem of data-driven hardware and software for creating an agile digital workspace within the ABW scheme.

The smart office concept begins at the entrance where visitors can sign in digitally via a visitor management system at the front concierge. Next to the front entrance is an elegant waiting lobby done up in ash wood trellis, light grey marble tiles and red accents to reflect Ricoh’s corporate colour. At the corner, a Ricoh Collaboration Board and two units of Ricoh projectors are on display.

The waiting lobby leads to the meeting zone, which accommodates a group of flexible meeting and discussion rooms. Designed with operable wall panels integrated with acoustic treatment, each of these rooms can be combined to form a larger space for conferences or training sessions. The meeting zone can also be opened up to merge with the pantry and collaboration area for town hall meetings. Acoustic fabric panelling with geometrical patterns blends in with the frosted glass panels, creating a stylish vibe in the meeting zone.

Ricoh’s office is also an interactive workplace with ample opportunity for impromptu discussions and creative conversations. More than just a space for taking a break or having meals, the pantry and an adjacent e-Café offer employees a conducive place for informal meetups or ad-hoc brainstorming sessions that can take place during lunch or over coffee breaks.

The high, exposed ceiling spray-painted in white provides a clean backdrop for the light wood flooring and neutral-toned furniture pieces. Fresh indoor plants and artificial greenery along with a green wall punctuate the space, bringing in a lively atmosphere. A kitchenette with neutral-toned cabinetry and a unique bar counter further complement the café-themed room, which
accommodates various seating options.

In the centre of the space is a Ricoh 55-inch Colla-boration Board that serves as a source of entertainment during breaks and a collaboration meeting tool to provide information related to ongoing meetings and other office matters. The e-Café also incorporates a powerful 6,400-lumen Ricoh projector, which comes with a sizeable 150-inch screen for town hall gatherings.

Apart from serving the local sales and service network, Ricoh Asia Pacific also covers and supports the marketing and sales activities in the Asia Pacific region. With this in mind, the company requested a touch of cultural identity in the office design to represent their presence and growth in this region. It was also crucial that the design element does not compromise the
sophisticated, modern aesthetics of the workspace.

MGroup drew inspiration from the iconic landmarks at Marina Bay Sands and designed a massive tree-like sculpture that bears a resemblance to the Supertree Grove at the Gardens by the Bay. Featuring a composition of wood strips that gently bend outward and “branch” up to the ceiling, the tree sculpture is placed as a centrepiece in the middle of the collaboration area. Surrounding the tree are low benches and a display area for Ricoh’s new digital technology solutions. Greenery in planter boxes and natural light streaming in from the windows give the space a cosy park-like atmosphere for facilitating collaborative work.

In this office, Ricoh moves away from traditional workstations where employees are assigned to specific desks throughout their work tenure. Their teams frequently shift between different workspaces throughout the day to carry out a myriad of work tasks and meetings. Thus, the best solution is an agile workspace that allows employees to choose where they want to work. This approach is also in line with the company’s work culture to foster flexibility in terms of communications and collaboration as well as promote higher productivity while catering to the well-being of their employees.

Taking the company’s workflow into consideration, MGroup created a variety of workstations ranging from hotdesks with digital booking systems to cluster seating and collaborative corners. The cluster seating area breaks away from the monotony of conventional work desks to provide a group seating experience for teams who are handling a project together. Irregularly shaped tables in two heights offer a spacious workspace, allowing employees to sit or stand while working. Green carpeting and plants complement the tables, while the exposed ceiling painted in white maintains the clean and modern look of the space.

One of the pivotal elements for the office’s tech-optimised work environment is equipping every work desk, primarily the hotdesks, with a digital booking system integrated with human sensor. This system effectively eliminates the need for fixed workstations, thus increasing workspace efficiency.

Upon detecting human presence, the sensor will record desk usage and generate a seating pattern to manage workspace bookings. Users can conveniently key in their booking details, and the system will match them with a vacant desk. Over time, the system will provide data comparison using seating trends, offering insight on optimal desk and space usage. The sensor will also adjust lighting levels according to current activity, contributing to energy savings in the long run.

The world of work has been in a state of flux for well over a year, with digital solutions and technology integration coming to the fore more and more to enable flexible working.

“No longer will a person’s job be defined by where they work: It will be defined by how they work.”

A modern workspace and the design detail organisations need to take into consideration now should revolve around this employee collaboration, how it’s fostered, and how the employer can enable this. Workplace technology should improve culture and connections, enable better teamwork, and support overall workplace collaboration.

A major part of this will be a move away from office space that is focused on maximising capacity and getting the most out of every square foot. Employees will want to come into the office only when needed, and only into a more spaced-out environment where they can feel safe. Right-sizing an individual environment for this approach could be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be guesswork: analytics and scheduling solutions can shed light on how exactly a space is required, the design elements needed, and how best to balance that with the needs of every employee and the teams as a whole.

Ricoh utilises its state-of-the-art workspace scheduling technology in their new HQ, which combines the best of office and remote working, giving the choice to the employees when they need spaces to work. This smart workplace scheduling provides user-friendly tools for booking anywhere, any time.

Project: Ricoh
Location: Singapore
Size: 11,055 sqft
Service: Design & Build
Design Studio: MGroup
Photo Credits: Imagesmith photography