Since the start of the year, some 1,000 staff working for Malaysia-listed YTL Corp have been operating out of YTL Tower, along Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. Soaring 41 storeys high in a glass-clad structure, the headquarters for the Malaysian developer brought together all of its employees, which used to operate out of over 25 separate sites across Klang Valley.
Before Covid-19 wreaked havoc globally, the office was seen merely as a location to report for duty and less as a meeting place to foster ideas and creative collaboration. Only after a spate of work-from-home orders were issued worldwide did pundits attach a new meaning to the role of the workplace: one where the focus on collegial relationships is key, and conversations around the watercooler, applauded.
Even before the pandemic hit, YTL had already planned for its headquarters to embody a “future workplace design”. The design brief was conceptualised back in 2017, and has resulted in a working environment which promotes collaboration across three levels: Level 8 houses a café, offering a diverse range of food and beverages for staff, and a town hall that can accommodate up to 200 people for events or informal gatherings. Levels 9 and 10 feature a host of collective meeting zones — semi-enclosed rooms, an acoustically private room, large multi-function conference rooms, and various hot-desking and discussion areas.
Conventional offices, meanwhile, occupy Levels 11 to 39, accommodating YTL Group’s diverse range of subsidiaries and business divisions.
There has been a growing number of millennials employed by the developer, and it wanted to cater to all working generations. To that end, YTL hopes that the “diverse needs of all staff for different styles of working” would be met in its new headquarters, fostering a “healthy work culture that promotes creativity, collaboration and inspiration”.
Star to the office tower is its cavernous reception lobby, spanning over 25m in height across seven floors. To enhance the vastness of the space, Singapore-based Ministry of Design (MOD) chose a glittering art installation that hovers across the lobby. The entrance is designed to “capture the rays of light in the daytime, and glow like a lantern in the evening”, describes MOD.
To access the higher floors, visitors would have to walk through a bronze-clad portal, which houses a series of lifts beyond it. Once guests sign in at the reception desk and walk past the turnstiles, they need only to indicate their destined floor number at the lift call button before entering the lifts. On Google reviews, one guest described the experience as “futuristic”, while others declared it “beautiful”.
Currently, different business units and divisions in YTL have different working arrangements, which vary from staggered work hours, to working from home, and more flexible work hours, says the developer.
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