Technology may be changing the way we work, but that doesn't mean employees are turning into automatons. In fact, it seems the opposite applies. As recent office fit-outs attest, the more sophisticated the technology and work practices, the more relaxed and sociable the workplace.
One of the key reasons for this change is the increasing value placed on attracting and retaining good staff. It also reflects a more holistic approach to business from the desire to incorporate sustainable design practices and a sense of transparency, to the recognition that interactive, collaborative spaces and breakout areas have positive spin-offs for both employees and clients.
The new Accenture office in The Gardens North Tower on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur puts these ideas into practice. Designed by SL+A, the offices needed to reinforce Accenture's professional image as a leading global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company.
Accenture director Janet Yap says the move from a central office to the new location allowed the company to move from the typical one workstation per staff member setup.
"Technology allows people to work anywhere, creating new opportunities to collaborate both physically and virtually," she says. "The office is not so much a place to work as a place to collaborate and connect with leadership. Our offices needed to reflect the fact that we are more flexible and collaborative, so social spaces were important. So, too, was a connection with nature, and the use of environmentally friendly materials. We wanted to minimise Accenture's consumption of natural resources and look at waste management through responsible reuse and recycling."
Taking these challenges on board, SL+A designed a dynamic, flowing interior that begins with the cool, sleek formality of the reception area and continues past eye-catching, glazed meeting rooms to culminate in the lively, colourful Bistro breakout area on the opposite side of the triangular tower.
Designer Dylan Tham of SL+A says although the use of colour and materials is contrasted between the formal and informal areas, there is still a strong visual connection.