How A Well-Designed Workplace Can Help Win the War for Talent

How A Well-Designed Workplace Can Help Win the War for Talent




21 Feb 2022

As we enter another year of flux and uncertainty, employees are experiencing increased frustration and fatigue, resulting in what many have termed “The Great Resignation” around the world. Also known as the Big Quit, the phrase was coined by an American university professor and refers to the current phenomenon of people leaving their jobs and workplaces en masse throughout the country.

Closer to home, it appears that the phenomenon is also impacting the Singapore workforce, with 58% of workers planning to shift careers in 2022. And it’s not just the employees feeling stressed—employers are as well. Besides having to manage overheads and ensure that the company remains profitable, many are expected to go the extra mile and demonstrate care and empathy in order to retain the best talents.

Indeed, employee well-being has been brought to the fore with the pandemic, and people are prioritising work-life balance more than ever. With the rise of the hybrid work model and gradual return to office, many are looking to feel a sense of belonging to their company. They want to be able to be their unique and authentic self at work, and connect to those around them.

Against this backdrop, applying designing thinking at the workplace is crucial towards fostering belonging and driving employee engagement. As a commercial interior design company, we know this well. At ID21, we are driven by a human-centric approach when we design and build workplaces, with a high priority placed on the user experience.  At the onset of any project, our team conducts stakeholder workshops, site audits, and employee surveys to ensure that our design is aligned with the client’s working needs, patterns and preferences.

Colours, Culture and Branding

ID21 Watsons Workplace Design

More than just an aesthetic tool, colours can drive behaviour and influence mindsets. In the context of workplace design, a company’s brand colours can be used to connect employees and create a sense of identity and cohesiveness; a selective choice of colours can also help to project a company’s brand personality.  

Here’s a quick snapshot of the meaning behind certain colours. What does the colours of your brand or workplace say about you?


Blue – Productivity, Confidence, Focus
Yellow – Optimism, Creativity
Red – Urgency, Efficiency, Energy
Green – Calmness, Alertness, Peacefulness
White – Cleanliness, Modern, Openness
Orange – Friendliness, Cheerfulness, Success
Purple – Luxury, Wisdom, Loyalty
Black – Control, Stability, Intellect

Visual reminders in the form of company taglines or imagery associated with the nature of business are also an effective way to remind employees of the company’s purpose.

Flexibility and Choice

ID21 Amadeus Corporate Office Interior Design

With many employees preferring a bottom-up approach whereby they feel respected and are able to give feedback on what matters to them, employers have to exercise a reasonable amount of flexibility in today’s workplace. This applies not just to remote work policies, but also how employees would like to use the space when they are in the office.

It is also prudent for companies to embrace talents from different backgrounds through greater sensitivity to individual needs. Do employees prefer a table booking system that allows them to work from anywhere in the office? Are focus pods required for private conversations? Is there a need for quiet zones to accommodate neurodiverse employees who prefer to avoid auditory overstimulation? The underlying message here that employees hope to hear from their employer is: “We hear you, and we are offering you flexibility and choice.”

In fact, the need to cater to different working styles has given rise to Activity-Based Working (ABW) environments. While not a new concept, it has been trending in recent years as offices seek to adopt a “fewer desks, more open spaces” approach, be it for efficient space utilisation, employee engagement, or safe distancing reasons. A case in point would be our work for Amadeus in Singapore, where we challenged the conventions associated with the front of house and incorporated a coffee bar, pool table and foosball table right next to the reception.

ID21 Amadeus Corporate Office Interior Design

Importance of Social Spaces

ID21 Amadeus Corporate Office Interior Design

The truth is, most of us miss the social aspects of work—lunches and coffee breaks with colleagues, casual chats along office corridors, or simply the spontaneity of being able to banter across cubicles. These pockets of socialisation break the monotony of typing away at our keyboards and alleviates fatigue after a long meeting, both of which heighten in intensity when one works from home.

Hence, it makes sense to allocate more spaces for socialisation and collaboration in today’s workplace. Pantries should no longer be relegated to an obscure corner of the office, but can double in space and double up as work cafes. Hotdesking zones can be fitted out with modular and movable furniture to make way for townhall meetings when required. Areas by the window can be transformed into booth or bench seating to encourage conversations.

As the war for talent continues, a strong and clear company culture—supported by a people-centric work environment—will be pivotal towards helping organisations remain resilient amid the talent crunch. For those who plan to be a part of the Great Resignation, these considerations can also help separate wheat from chaff as you navigate your job search.

Ready to embark on your office design and renovation journey with the right partner? Contact us to find out how we can help you to drive workplace transformation in Singapore and beyond.