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Robinsons Offices Welcomes Back Employees at Its New & Modern Headquarters
JG Summit TeamApril 25, 2022

The new office setup helps returning employees march bravely into a better normal

After nearly two years of disruption, a comforting sense of normality is gradually returning across the globe. Companies are welcoming employees back into offices, and are now much less reliant on the work-from-home setup. To get those who’ve become accustomed to doing remote work back into the groove, a spanking new office could provide that much needed shot in the arm.

That’s exactly what greeted the employees of Robinsons Land Corporation–Office Buildings Division when they all reported back to work earlier this year. Although some of the staff had been reporting physically to the office even during the pandemic, it was only in January 2022 that an entirely new space was unveiled for all returning employees.

RLC Senior Vice President and Robinsons Offices General Manager Jericho Go is aware that those who have been telecommuting may have gotten used to having everything within easy reach. Hence, Go and his team made it a point to include a host of features into the office design to help make it a “home away from home.”

 “We know that almost everyone is coming from a work-from-home setup. They might have grown so accustomed to it after two years, so we’re hoping with the layout in the new office, they will feel like they’re at home but in a space that has far better Wi-Fi connection and more chances for them to reacquaint themselves with their officemates,” Go said.

Besides increasing productivity through the use of commercial grade equipment and technology, face-to-face interactions encourage greater collaboration and camaraderie. Beyond this, Go sees the bigger picture in regard to reporting back to work, which may prove to have a wide ranging and significant impact on the economy.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector is the biggest provider of jobs in the country, accounting for about 63% of total employment. Some examples of MSMEs are wholesale and retail traders, shops catering to the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and accommodation and food service providers, to name a few. During the pandemic, however, the MSME sector was the most affected in terms of jobs lost.

Encouraging people to return to work can create a multiplier effect to help MSMEs get back on the right track. Employees reporting physically to work take public transport, buy food and other necessities from neighborhood shops or tenants at the mall, and augment their wardrobes to maintain a professional workplace appearance. These are just a few of the everyday acts that can support the recovery of MSMEs from the negative effects of the pandemic.

A Better Office for the Better Normal

Go says that the only way to successfully emerge from this pandemic is to move forward and bravely march into “a better normal.” Taking this phrase to heart, he’s optimistic that the new office on the 25th floor of Robinsons Cyberscape Alpha in the Ortigas CBD will help cultivate a culture of trust and cooperation, and increase employee engagement.

From the get-go, the open-floor layout makes the space appear larger and ready to welcome more people. Unlike traditional offices with row upon row of cubicles with low partitions, theirs is divided into clearly delineated segments.

Colors and textures are judiciously used and can be seen throughout the space. From the reception area (or Veranda), guests have a view of a vertical garden that creeps up the ceiling and forms a welcoming arbor. A trellis gives a peek into the main work area and Sala, which features ergonomically designed chairs in cool sorbet-colored upholstery. There are also two swing seats attached to the ceiling for employees who want to playfully sway as they sit.

As you enter the main workspace, the Town Hall for large group meetings and celebrating First Friday Mass is on the far right. With its three-tiered stadium-style risers made of blonde wood and two wall-mounted shelves that keep 72 stools within easy reach, the Town Hall can easily seat 150 people. Once meetings are over, the boxy stools can be slotted back into place thus keeping the space clutter-free.

A winding path of graphic black and white Machuca tiles acts as a border separating the work spaces from the rest-and-play areas. In the Playground, there are tables for playing foosball, billiards, and ping-pong, as well as monkey bars located next to a high table with barstools.

 “We will eventually have a chess board and an air hockey table,” Go said. “Why are we doing this? With the absence of contact sports like basketball and volleyball, we realized people needed to interact with one another. We’re even planning to hold tournaments within the group.”

On the other side of the Veranda is the office pantry where employees can get their midmorning or afternoon caffeine fix like they would if they were at home. The space is outfitted with ochre Machuca tiles and chairs with solihiya details. This traditional woven design is also found in a series of wood frame panels mounted on one wall.

Lighting Spaces

Even the lighting is carefully considered and designed to remind employees to take a break once in a while. Lights over the work areas are bright white, but not glaring. On the other hand, those in the rest areas are a complexion-enhancing yellow, like the round capiz pendants hung high over the Playground.

The office is outfitted with three privacy pods with proper ventilation where employees can conduct confidential business calls. Two meeting rooms were designed to inspire creative thought. The Sky Room is equipped with white pendant lamps hanging from the ceiling at various heights, and showcases a view of the Ortigas skyline outdoors and the Hong Kong skyline (a glossy mural-sized photograph) on one wall. The Green Room, meanwhile, is outfitted with mottled, moss-green carpeting and a floor-to-ceiling image of lush trees in a forest. Go says the Sky Room was designed to remind the team to set their sights high (“Sky’s the limit”), while the second was done in shades of green to help them come up with more creative ideas.

 “As business development professionals, we want to make sure that they have very creative ideas, something that can really jumpstart business,” he said. It’s thoughtful touches like these that set their office apart from the rest, but Go has even loftier goals.

Higher Goals

“Robinsons Offices has a higher purpose: to be in the service of our fellow men for the greater glory of God (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam). When we do our jobs well, this leads us to develop more office buildings that then become a catalyst for growth as they promote and induce job creation.”

Go is hopeful that creating jobs in urban areas and in the provinces will help promote reverse migration, so that Filipinos will not be forced to seek work away from home.

 “We give OFWs the opportunity to come back to the Philippines to work here instead of abroad, and to provide a choice for those in the metro to return to their provinces. We’re hopeful that the day will come when no mother, father, sister or brother will ever have to go abroad again because they are forced to seek employment in a foreign land to help the family survive,” said Go. “Our mission is to keep the Filipino family together. This is why we are passionate about the work that we do. We know that what we do matters.”

Originally posted in JG Summit Holdings Inc.'s website.