The value of a cool workplace

  • Columns
  • Sunday, 18 Sep 2016

Ngei says Feruni believes in providing an environment that is comfortable and encourages a positive lifestyle.

Most people have to spend an inordinate amount of time at the office, so why not make them feel at home? Feruni Ceramiche certainly thinks that a comfortable work environment is an essential investment, writes MEK ZHIN.

EVERYONE gets only 24 hours in a day, a third of which most adults would spend at work for most of the week, so it really isn’t too far-fetched to call one’s workplace a second home.

Being cognizant of this fact, Feruni Ceramiche has created a work environment where their employees can indeed feel at home. Its headquarters in Petaling Jaya is a fitting embodiment of this concept.

Walking up to the office floor, one is greeted with an open-floor concept where even the company’s managing director Datuk C.C. Ngei sits at a regular table, without partitions, with everyone else.

“This concept encourages open communication. We see people initiating discussions anywhere, and this translates into better efficiency, and for us, it also means we don’t need to build a room specifically for meetings,” he says.

Ngei adds that they embarked on the workspace revamp when they decided to transform the office culture.

“Imagine sitting in the same old office, day in and day out, while talking about transformation. It wouldn’t work.

“Also, we wanted to promote a decentralised management and ensure our head of departments leads by example, which means sitting with the employees to create opportunities for communicating and listening,” he explains, adding that he treat the office not as a showpiece but as a tool to connect with employees.

Ngei peppers the place with furniture and sometimes decorative items he finds while travelling, and this gives the place an additional special touch.

The actual workspace aside, Feruni’s office also offers employees unlimited usage of its in-house gym, game room, library and cafeteria.

“We want to promote a good work-life balance. Instead of rushing home after work through a bad jam, staff now have the option of using these facilities to pass the time.

“The gym is pretty popular after work, and we are encouraging some of these active gymmers to go in the morning instead, so more will get to use it,” he says.

Staff at Feruni are obviously happy with the facilities too, with some even coming into the office on their off-days just to use them or hang out with colleagues.

Many of these facilities are also tied up with Feruni’s 10 core values, including Have Fun At Work, Demonstrate Talent and so on, all of which when achieved and acknowledged by a fellow employee, will earn the staff points and badges.

At the heart of this physical office transformation is the same belief Feruni operates on, which is for employees to be happy in what they do. And this includes their surroundings.

“We believe that by providing an environment that is comfortable and which encourages a positive lifestyle for our employees, we are contributing to their happiness,” says Ngei.

From a company’s perspective, this is not an expense but an investment. Employees will feel they are being taken care of.

“You don’t need to change everything at once. Start small. Do it bit by bit,” Ngei advises companies looking to transform their office culture.

He says Feruni’s office is now a place where colleagues can easily bond with one another. In addition, the cool office environment has attracted many new talents to join them.

Find out what Feruni’s staff have to say about their employer in the next article on Oct 3.

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