Orient Magazine Issue 81 - April 2021 - Page 37

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Prudential ' s Level 6 Amphitheatre area in the Marina One office is one of many social spaces where colleagues can mingle and interact . This photo was taken pre-COVID . insurance company . We took great pleasure in breaking stereotypes then , because it was really not about our people being ‘ boxed up ’ and doing what they do best from a functional perspective , but really getting them into collaborative workspaces spaces where people interact with each other as human beings . Secondly , leveraging the strengths that each of us bring to the table to get the right solutions for our customers . The best part of the entire workspace is that it treats everyone equally and allows people to make new friends on a regular basis because with the hot-desking concept you don ’ t have belongings at a fixed desk , you have a cubbyhole . It has actually encouraged a lot of new behaviors from our people , really allowing them to come into work every day with brand new perspectives , because you don ' t have a whole pile of papers sitting on your table reminding you of yesterday .
With the pandemic , a significant part of our workforce has been operating from home for safety reasons , which has also been very productive for people . We ' ve been asking ourselves what should we do with our existing workspace , and how do we continue
to use it as a magnet to get people to come back , when they ’ re comfortable , to connect and engage with each other . When you are physically connecting with people , the energy that you draw gives you a bit of an adrenaline rush . We ' ve done very well in the virtual world to encourage connectivity among teams with everyone working from home , but we now need to see how we can adapt and have more collaborative spaces versus typical workstations . There ’ s also the added dimension of how can we use the workspace to make it something that people want to connect with . Is the workplace of the future post-pandemic really the office or is it a virtual interactive one , which is also going to be part of the future ? There ' s a fair amount of work that we ' re doing around what we call the hybrid workplace , and how we enable everything that needs to happen for people to co-exist in harmony , regardless of physical location .
The company made a public announcement to allow employees to work beyond the retirement age cap . Can you tell us about the reasoning behind this change , how it ' s benefited employees and what you ' ve seen as the impact so far ?
Back in 2018 we commissioned a thought leadership piece around longevity . A large part of that interest stemmed from our belief and purpose in wanting to help people get the most out of life and be a good corporate citizen , enabling Singapore residents to achieve whatever their aspirations are .
While we sit together and speak about the future of work and what that looks like , you must invite the employee into the conversation and create a level of awareness on what the future could potentially look like .
IN FOCUS INTERVIEW WITH THE EDITOR :
SHEELA PARAKKAL , CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER , PRUDENTIAL SINGAPORE