ET&Co’s new office marks new start

Ong: Around the world, there’s a growing number of experienced people who’ve left international firms to start their own boutique practices like what we’ve done
In a tour of property consultancy Edmund Tie & Co’s (ET&Co) new office at UIC Building, Ong Choon Fah, the firm’s CEO, shows off her workspace: a standard 1.5m worktop like the rest of her colleagues in the open-plan space. “There’s no corner room office for the heads,” she says. “Now, everyone has a 1.5m long desk regardless of who we are.”
The only luxury is that her desk is ergonomic, and can be lowered or raised by the press of a button, giving Ong the option to sit or stand while working. “It’s great, especially after lunch,” she says. Some of the other desks come with the option too — for those who want it, she adds.
The office has an unobstructed view of the sea. “At dusk, we can see the sun set and the ships coming in,” says Ong. “We feel everyone should enjoy the view, not just the top management.”
The company has also opted to go paperless, with all the documents scanned and stored in the cloud. It has also done away with personal wastepaper baskets. There are only common recycling bins as well as paper shredders in designated areas in the office.
Those who want privacy can take their phone calls in a corner room called “the phone booth”. There is also a room designated for nursing mothers. Each staff has a locker and there are shoe lockers as well. “We found out that each of us has an average of 11 pairs of shoes,” she says. “And there was almost a riot over storage space for shoes.”
Meanwhile, tables in the meeting rooms and pantry area are wired for hot desking in preparation for the company’s future expansion. Staff can work from anywhere. “By incorporating new ways of working, health and wellness, we are able to use space more efficiently,” says Ong.