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In designing its Singapore Innovation Centre (SgIC), P&G prioritised creating a workspace that would inspire creativity and drive innovation amongst its team of 500 engineers, researchers and support staff.
In line with that, the firm decided the best way to foster collaboration both within and across various teams focusing on different areas of research was to implement an open-concept office space.
Ayako Fujii, HR manager, P&G Singapore Innovation Centre (SgIC) explained: “The SgIC work environment is extremely flat – we don’t have so-called ‘executive areas’. Employees can approach their managers and senior leaders in the open plan office to bounce off any ideas they might have.”
While designing the open-concept office, P&G also made sure that the SgIC work environment caters to the different work styles of its diverse workforce.
“Employees are free to re-configure the rooms to suit their needs, whether it is for small group discussions, brainstorming sessions or presentations,” Fujii added.
The SgIC also houses 250 laboratory modules, equipped with advanced measurement and testing capabilities to support research efforts and product innovation amongst P&G’s team of researchers.
“The ‘Proto-park’ is a dedicated experimentation zone where our staff can exercise their creativity, using advanced tools and equipment to create proto-types of products and packaging.
“Small batches of new products are created at the Process Research Lab for quick testing. We also have some of the latest 3D printing technology to develop innovative packaging.”
Apart from the hardware, the firm has also implemented programmes to foster a culture of collaborative learning and innovation. These include informal weekly ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions.
Fujii explained that during these sessions, the firm invites internal and external speakers to talk on a wide range of topics, from the latest innovations in 3D printing to motivational talks by senior company leaders.
“Staff are free to attend these informal sessions, in which ideas are exchanged freely and where the next breakthrough products are sometimes born.”
As P&G is represented by 45 nationalities from different backgrounds and cultures, it provides amenities to meet their diverse needs, such as dedicated nursing rooms for mothers on every floor and multi-faith prayer rooms.
“Since we spend a large part of our day at work, we felt that creating an engaging space where our employees felt inspired and comfortable in was key to bringing out their maximum potential,” Fujii explained.
Additionally, P&G believes that the key to optimum productivity is a healthy workforce.
“As a company that has touched and improved the lives of more than five billion consumers globally, the health and well-being of our employees is one of our core priorities.
“Thus, we have a vibrant living room where employees can receive personal health coaching from health professionals as well as vibrant living areas with exercise machines and rest areas for employees to keep fit and re-energise. Employees can also have a rubdown in our dedicated massage rooms by professional therapists when they feel the need to relax.”
Fujii advised that when designing any new offices, it is important to listen to the needs and wants of employees.
“This was especially important at the SgIC, where specialised research laboratories were created to support our R&D efforts. We conducted an internal survey to find out just what our team of researchers needed in terms of research equipment and facilities, in addition to what they wanted in an ideal workplace.
“We then worked with a group of experts in design, engineering, and technology, among others, in order to create a work environment that best suits the needs of our employees and helped foster a collaborative and innovative work culture.
“The flexibility of the workspace also allows us to reconfigure it to meet the latest requirements of cutting-edge R&D facilities in future,” she explained.
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