Vinflair's Smart Office Design to Facilitate Employee Communications and Visualize Corporate Culture
Unprecedented Changes in Global LogisticsVinflair Group is a Hong Kong-based logistics company established in 1984. Their core business is to provide international logistics and transportation services for mainland and Hong Kong manufacturer. In recent years, Vinflair Group has tried to expand its business to serve the e-commerce platform, and COVID-19 became the accelerator for the company to transform. Ryan Leung, the executive director of Vinflair Group, said the pandemic has disrupted the global logistics network, “The traditional logistics were mainly by either air or marine, but due to the global lockdown, it’s no longer possible to deliver the commodities on time, a new combination of logistics network is in need.” Meanwhile, the social distance policy has also altered the shopping habit of people, “COVID-19 has also given online shopping a boost and further multiply the burden on logistics. As you know, “Time is gold” for the e-commerce platform. That’s why our colleagues from different departments need to carry out more close communication and cooperation to help our clients to secure the delivery schedule.”
The Disadvantages of Traditional Office Layout
Ryan said that they had two separate offices in Kowloon Bay that need to be merged together to strengthen management and collaboration efficiency. “Relocation is a big event. The new office will serve as a home to support our business and colleagues for a long period of time, so it’s worth investing more resources in design.” Ryan said he personally appreciated the concept of smart office, “It’s not only focused on technology implementation and modernized decoration, but also responds to employees' requirements for the working environment, which will have a positive impact on enhancing the sense of belonging and productivity.”
Before finding the ideal location for the new office, Ryan had started to pay special attention to the interior workplace design when visiting their partners and clients. He said with a smile, “I had always asked my partners and clients whether there are any hidden features in the detail, it’s really helped me to establish the prototype of our smart office.” He had noticed that the interaction of the teams vary much by the design, “The traditional office with tall partitions and tall lockers is more likely to hinder communication, and the working atmosphere is dull and bored.” After a period of observation, the ideal smart office design was gradually formed in Ryan's mind. When they had found the right place, chose Ricoh to design for their new workplace.
Key Elements of a Successful Smart Workplace
Although the Ryan has already had many practical thoughts in mind, such as to have an open field of vision, multi-functional meeting spaces, and the introduction of an energy-saving management system, Ryan admitted that the whole picture was still rather vague. "At the kick-off meeting, the Ricoh designer in charge had prepared and asked us many questions, to understand carefully our company's business scope, future plans, industry's needs, and also our corporate culture. So when they came with the first design draft, we were very satisfied."
Jay, the Ricoh designer in charge of this project, explained that Ryan and his teams had expressed their expectations clearly at the first meeting. "Ryan is an energetic and enlightened boss, he deeply understands team chemistry playing a critical role to the company’s success. That’s why the colleagues are always encouraged to share their opinions at work. Reflected opinions in the design, the office desks in the main working area are separated by low cabinets and lockers, replacing the tall one in old offices. The open space design has created a relaxed and free working environment, allowing employees to have an open vision and facilitating communications.
Considering the colleagues in different departments will have close communications, Jay has reserved several multi-functional areas which are used for resting and relaxation normally, but also capable for holding small group meetings or team building places when necessary. In addition, the design team also converted one of the rooms into a small fitness room and added a shower room according to Ryan's request, so that employees can use their spare time to exercise and maintain their physical fitness. Jay very much agrees with Vinflair's corporate culture that values employees, so he takes employees' wellness as one of the main lines of the design concept this time.
Another design focus of the project is energy saving. Ryan is ready to take on the social responsibility in environmental protection and carbon reduction with the help of green technology. "The location of the new office has good daylighting, and the new design has created a sense of open space. The setup itself can reduce electricity consumption. But I believe the adoption of green technology can further improve environmental efficiency.” He said Ricoh team has installed sensors in different places in the office. “The intelligent daylight responsive system will adjust the luminaires at individual zone dynamically to the natural light source, maintaining the entire office area in optimal lighting conditions. Our colleagues do not need to manually adjust it frequently.” Ryan added that the lighting system is preset with a motion sensor. If the space is found to be idle for a period of time, the system will automatically turn off the lights and help to reduce carbon emissions effectively.
The Fusion of corporate culture and technologyThe smart office project only took four months to complete, Ryan said that they are highly satisfied with the completion of the decoration. “Not only the interior decoration is consistent with the design drawings, the time management of the different stages of the project was also very accurate, and we have no worry about the process."
"The project can be completed successfully, mainly because the Ricoh team has well-prepared and communicated adequately in advance. Jay and his team will consider and refine the design from the customer's standpoint.” Ryan gave an example that the new office is covering by a layer of nano-silver ion coating, the transparency layer can effectively kill bacteria and prevent the virus to survive on a surface for a long period of time. “As the project was being carried out during the pandemic, workplace hygiene is one of the main factors that will affect the operation of the business and protect our employees. That’s a very intimate idea."
After moving into the new office for three months, Ryan found that the working atmosphere had changed significantly. There is a closer connection between colleagues, and productivity has also been enhanced. The result made him believes that the smart office design must consider the connection between the corporate culture and technology. Otherwise, it will eventually be just a candy house, which is fancy and eye-catching, but not practical.