SHARED desks, smaller work spaces, increased diversity and other alternative workplace strategies could become the norm in Singapore within the next seven years as the demand for creative office spaces increases.
With Singapore's population density one of the highest in the world, reducing the amount of space allocated as a cost-saving measure is almost impossible. The only way to go, according to Peter Andrew, is to improve the way people work.
"The point is, on any day, about 15 to 25 per cent of staff do not walk in through the front door. That is space that can be put to better use," he said.
Mr Andrew is director of workplace strategies with CBRE's Global Corporate Services (GCS) where he provides real-estate and design consultancy to clients.
But besides improving space efficiency, incorporating alternative work strategies can help empower individuals in the workplace - majority of whom are savvy users of technology.
"We have new technology, people who think and work differently yet we are still building offices that we used to build 20, 30, 50, 70 years ago. That does not sound right."
With laptops, for instance, the work and the employee need not be confined to a single desk. A group of people within an organisation can share a set of desks to save costs, a simple version of alternative working known as hot-desking.
Alternative workplace strategies, which essentially help organisations design work environments and practices that give people more flexibility and resources for varying their routines, have their origins with IBM in the 1970s, explained Mr Andrew.
At that time, the main issue was one of ensuring a consistent global strategy that accommodated regional cultural variance.
"IBM was expanding internationally and wanted a global workplace strategy that could be used in offices in different countries," he said.