Promote sustainable initiatives for a healthier office environment

July 29, 2020


Promote sustainable initiatives for a healthier office environment

Companies and organizations with a background of being sustainable are more appealing to the new workforce and even customers and consumers are more inclined to-wards them. Gaining more customers is just the tip of what businesses can gain from going green.

There are numerous advantages to being sustainable and more eco-friendly, among the advantages are the following:

• Easily Attract and Retain Employees
• Higher Employee Morale
• Healthier Wellbeing
• Decrease Pollution in the air, earth, and water
• Reduce damage to natural systems and biodiversity

Usually, when people think of going green they immediately associate it with big cost and a complete overhaul in workplace design. False! Sustainability can be achieved through eco-friendly practices that you can easily implement inside the workplace. So, maybe there is a bit of an overhaul but more towards policies and practices. Listed be-low are some of the cost-effective practices you can promote for a healthier office environment.


• Recycling Program

You know how nowadays you can dispose of waste according to its material. There are color-coded bins used to separate glass from plastic and plastic from tissue or paper, all are part of a recycling program. Implementing a recycling program can help encourage your employees to consciously make better choices for themselves and the environment within and outside the office. On top of that, a recycling program minimizes emission from wastes in landfills and allows you to help others to make use of available resources.


• Conserving Energy

Ensuring all the lights are closed and electric wires unplugged is a simple yet cost-effective way to conserve energy within the office. Similar to a routine, it would be helpful to set up policies that urge employees to be more mindful of energy consumption. You can also opt for setting up light sensors, energy-efficient light bulbs, utilizing natural light, and using renewable energy sources (solar and wind power).


• Going Paperless and Plastic-free

Ever heard the saying, “save the turtles”? It became a viral phrase recently thanks to social media but it has also launched and pushed businesses to adopt more sustainable alternatives over plastic items. Employers can give out customized company tumblers for employees to use instead of plastic bottles. Eco-bags are also great to use for all types of occasions wherein you might need an extra pouch for your items. However, if you do happen to use a plastic bag—like the ones from supermarkets, then try to use it more than once and don’t let it be a single-use plastic that you’ll nonchalantly dispose of. Businesses should inspire workers to be responsible and conscious consumers for themselves but also the people and the environment around them.

Additionally, recycling and reusing papers are also encouraged. Think about all the times you had to print a form that only took up less than half the space of the paper. Don’t throw it away! You can reuse it as your draft or notes for work. That’s one way to address the paper problem. The other way is to go paperless and use a cloud drive for your business where all employees can access, upload, and download files. Gone are the days of distributing hard copy documents per person.


• Office Plants Indoors

Bringing the outdoors inside is to bring plants within the workplace and give them a loving space where they can emanate and create a healthier environment. Your work-place can improve wellbeing through ventilation thanks to plants, improve mood and productivity thanks to the greenery of plants, and overall improve air thanks to the col-lective number of plants found within the office. Also, plants are incredibly pleasing to the eye and aesthetic—so they basically fit in anywhere inside your office and make your place look welcoming.


• Mode of Transportation

Commuting is hard, especially if you work in areas considered as central business districts (CBD) where the traffic is intense. The modes of transportation in the Philippines are plenty but there’s a stark difference between public utility vehicles and ride-hailing private vehicles in terms of price and comfortability. But problems usually have solutions, if you have your vehicle, why not let coworkers who live nearby join you and carpool going to work? For employers, if you have employees who live nearby, why not provide bicycle racks, e-scooter and parking space for their zero-emission vehicles?

Another solution for the transportation problem is giving employees the option to work from home or conduct remote work elsewhere that is conveniently closer in distance to their home.

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There are a lot of sustainable practices to adopt that are cost-effective and efficient. Acquiring resources is also not heavy on the pocket for most of what’s mentioned. Be-coming more eco-friendly presents how you care for your employees, for a healthy work environment, and the Earth as a whole. There are no criteria needed to start sus-tainable practices and initiatives, by promoting the right direction and policies, you can achieve a more sustainable workplace.

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Design colors to improve productivity

July 24, 2020


Design colors to improve productivity

Colors can be used as tools to further enhance or affect the mood of workers in the office environment, it places a subtle yet effective impact on how we perceive tasks at hand and our productivity and creativity. The various colors provide different diverse emotions and meanings that stimulate our minds and perspective.

To improve workplace productivity, read more about the different colors and how they influence your mood at work to create a more harmonious workplace atmosphere.



An excellent and intellectual color that evokes the feeling of calmness and sheer focus. Adding blue to your workplace can help employees be more concentrated with their task at hand with clearer thoughts and pared down mental strain. It’s an absolute recommmeded color for productivity. To avoid an atmosphere that may seem cold or strict, try adding different accents of brighter colors such as yellow or orange.

Provides: Calmness and Concentration

Presents: Trust and Loyalty



Easy on the eyes and stimulates the mind, you’ll want to add green if your office tends to be used for working long hours. In a black and white spectrum, green would be the shades of gray that presents balance. On top of that, you can add green to your workplace through the use of plants.

Provides: Calmness, Tranquility, and Efficiency

Presents: Balance, Harmony, and Nature



More geared towards accelerating productivity and alertness in physical activities and labor. It’s been reported that the color red increases heart rate and blood flow. Hence, it’s recommended for physical tasks and if you want something in the office that would attract attention. The color red is best used in moderation as red decors or office furniture.

Provides: Increase in energy, Alertness, and Productivity in Physical Activity

Presents: Strength, Passion, and Excitement


Incorporating yellow into your workplace will help boost attention and memory level. Hues and accents of yellow are much better than the bright and loud ones. You’ll also want to accompany it with other colors. Yellow is best used to stimulate creativity and give off that sense of optimism.

Provides: Creativity

Presents: Optimism, and Confidence

These are all great colors to induce productivity in the workplace. Friendly reminder to keep it balanced and use these colors as sort of a complementary addition in your office through decors, pieces of furniture, backdrops, and more.

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The change of attitude in the New Normal workplace

July 15, 2020

The change of attitude in the New Normal workplace


The Philippine government declared the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) last March 16, 2020. And in less than three months, the pandemic has radically rewired processes we have known both in life and at work. The biggest process that most of us are all redefining is how to relate to the needed space apart from each other, also known as social distancing that we all need to apply resuming back to the workplace.

The challenge is clear. Workplaces must adapt. Yet, how do we design a workplace that responds not just to fear and anxiety, or the invisible threat of germs, but the full range of learned behaviors and attitudes that have evolved through the COVID-19 crisis?

The new normal workplace will now have to accommodate the heightened consciousness of space. This new mentality on space and touch, aid in germ mitigation and creates a comfortable, reassuring environment in the workplace.

The management should be able to communicate to the entire workplace that the workforce should be viable to adapt and accept that we’ve entered the new normal. Accelerate best practices around collaboration, flexibility, inclusion, and accountability.

Personal safety will be a priority, the “New Normal” workplace design is set to provide supportive features to reinforce a sense of safety and empower employees. Workplaces will need to adopt exceedingly clear and consistent communication protocols. Incorporating display safety signages will be applied as a mandated design for office communications throughout the floorplan. These said signages will play an important role. Signs that highlight what users can do as opposed to what they cannot in the workplace will assist in achieving higher reassurance from the employees.

Lastly, the need for mental health and well-being activities are to be a priority. The current crisis involves anticipatory grief compounding effects on those living with depression. Employers will need to invest in wellness and welfare well-being strategies to implement within the workplace.

To reimagine how to find the right balance between communal and private space. Designating separate, quiet, calm and truly private rooms offer flexible support for heads-down work, personal phone calls, or just a restful break. Such strategies still include the biophilic design, ergonomic work settings, and access to both active and meditative exercise activities. These options are best relevant and should receive more attention as the workforce return to the office from lockdown.

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Remote work wellbeing – how to stay healthy, engaged and productive at home

June 30, 2020

Remote work wellbeing – how to stay healthy, engaged and productive at home

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of companies pushed for a new work set-up that would allow business continuity without compromising the health and safety of workers. This set-up is the work from home arrangement or remote work. This work scheme has been quite efficient for businesses, however, behind the continuous work progress, the mental health and wellbeing of workers have been affected.


People may be having difficulties adjusting to the work set-up, being in isolation due to the community quarantine, or feeling uncomfortable with their living situation. All of these are possible factors that may affect their mental health. But there are ways to address and help alleviate the effects of remote work during this pandemic.


First off, we have to look at the factors that may be causing issues and concern to people’s wellbeing.

The lack of in-person contact can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Humans are social creatures, and many thrive by physically interacting with other people. Remote working has diminished the physical form of socializing, and its repercussions can be harmful to the physical and mental health of a person. Another factor can be their living situation, with the pandemic affecting different sectors of the community, workers may have difficulties working and relaxing in the same environment. Burnout is also a factor since working from home could drive people to work more because they believe that they have more time at home to be productive.


There are a lot of different factors, that is why it’s essential to keep an open mind and be more empathetic to workers during this period. If you’re a team leader, an employer, or the HR for a company, take this suggested guidance in mind to help you and your workers have a healthy wellbeing.


  • Be mindful, understanding, and transparent

Your employees are facing different challenges with the current situation, they may be juggling with their roles at home while at work such, as caring for a family member. And with the restrictions of staying at home and adjusting to remote working, it may take a toll on their mental health. The best approach is to encourage your workers to inform you of what they are going through, and for you to understand their situation. They might already feel guilty or stressed for compromising their time or productivity. It is best to support them during this period through transparent communication and assure them that you care.


  • Encourage work-life balance and breaks

People may have this mindset of maximizing their time at home by being more productive and going the extra mile to work on tasks. If it starts to affect their physical and mental health, it is indeed burnout. Due to working at home, people may not be able to separate their space for relaxing and working. It is highly encouraged that people set up a different space for where they work, not necessarily an office room, but just a corner where they can focus on work. And because they’re already at home, workers may feel compelled to keep on working non-stop. You have to encourage work-life balance; turn off notifications after work hours, take a few breaks within the day, and create a water cooler where people can talk about things unrelated to work.


  • Do check-ins and provide support

Check-ins are similar to water coolers where you talk about things in your life outside of work. It allows you to know how your workers are feeling and get to know them more as they share about what they have been up to. This is a time where everyone can communicate freely and share encouragement. Check-ins can also build rapport and trust when an employee shares their troubles, this can be a great way to provide the support that is tailored fit for them. Additionally, for people feeling isolated, check-ins can be a great way to remedy that as it becomes an alternative way of social interaction through virtual communication tools.


Mental health and wellbeing are important more than ever for people working from home and even to those returning to their workplace. There is a lot of adjusting needed in both settings, as well as, concerns to take in mind during this shift to a “New Normal”.

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Strategies and solutions for Workplace Wellbeing presented in CoreNet Global Hackathon – Team 16’s study overview

June 29, 2020

Strategies and solutions for Workplace Wellbeing presented in CoreNet Global Hackathon – Team 16’s study overview

Addressing the challenges brought upon by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the corporate real estate industry, the CoreNet Global led a hackathon wherein members of the real estate community gathered together to develop solutions to respond to the problems posed by COVID-19 and immediate crisis in the future.

A hackathon, by definition, is a group of individuals convening to solve problems collectively and within a short, defined period of time. The CoreNet Global Hackathon entitled “A COVID-19 Virtual Ideation Experience” granted an opportunity for participants to ideate with peers across the globe and tackle the challenges in their selected topic. Over 1,000 members participated in the COVID-19 hackathon with representation from 35 countries in more than 90 teams. Teams addressed the following areas:


  1. Space Utilization and Metrics
  2. Distributed Work
  3. Workplace Wellbeing
  4. The Autonomous Workplace
  5. Environment and Climate Change
  6. Manufacturing and Industrial


Following the Workplace Wellbeing topic, the task given to the teams was for them to develop forecasts and key recommendations for corporate real estate professionals that address challenges and respond to wellbeing in the workplace.

In an interview with IDr. Charisse Gail Bantiling, Principal Designer and Vice President of the Design and Construction Management at Trends And Concepts, she shared how she and her team conceptualized design strategies for the future of the workplace and solutions to elevate employee-wellbeing.


IDr. Bantiling is part of Team 16 addressing the area of Workplace Wellbeing. Team 16 is led by Sujatha Ganapathy, Vice President of Knight Frank India. The other team members are:

  • Ashwini Kuvalekar, Architect- Sustainable Solutions, Space Matrix Design Consultants Pvt Ltd, India
  • Figueroa, Associate Director, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Philippines, Inc.
  • Sandhya Hegde, Lead- Sustainable Solutions, Space Matrix Design Consultants Pvt Ltd, India


The report by Team 16 first identified the risks found within enclosed settings, such as the workplace, that individuals are more likely to be exposed to and may impact their overall wellbeing.  The risks are mainly environmental, occupational, and behavioral.

“When we were doing the study, I figured to be able to answer the problem – we have to start first by looking at the problem and the problem is how could we create a workplace environment driven by wellbeing for the modern workforce,” shared IDr. Bantiling.

The future workplace strategy they presented takes into consideration the efficiency of the building, surrounding environment, available resources, and the measures needed in planning a new workplace or retrofitting an existing office to mitigate the aforementioned risks.


In their presentation, they proposed various strategies for the future of the workplace that underscores both big and small details that enable a harmonious and healthier living environment. Similarly, IDr. Bantiling discussed her design insights in a different platform, which also showcase a thorough guideline on enclosed physical spaces that promotes health and wellness in the current and post COVID-19 landscape.

Read more: Workplace design strategy for an employee-centric environment in the COVID-19 landscape

Additionally, workplace design on wellness integration and infrastructure measures to prevent any type of disease or ill-conditions due to Occupational and Environmental factors are listed:

  • Limit exposure to Air Pollution & Infection Risks, External Factors
  • Access to Resources, such as water dispensers with safe drinking water as per the World Health Organisation.
  • Provide Comforting Needs – Space Placement, Interior Design, Engineering and Operational Facilities
  • Provision of contactless trash cans
  • Access Control System – Face-Scanning Biometric Solution/Application based systems for attendance log-in to avoid touching the surfaces
  • QR Code Scanner for Lift usage



Other aspects that are equally important in a workplace environment are programs for employees to encourage a healthier lifestyle, educational resources, and facility management protocols.

The hackathon’s result and final report for the area of Workplace Wellbeing states that the most important aspect for a re-entry strategy is the physical and mental wellbeing of an individual employee. Workplace wellness, initially a concept, may emerge as an industry with new products, practices, techniques, and strategies for companies to adopt and adjust for their respective spaces, building, and community



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Workplace design strategy for an employee-centric environment in the COVID-19 landscape

June 22, 2020

Workplace design strategy for an employee-centric environment in the COVID-19 landscape

As the ease of lockdown restrictions grant the gradual reopening of the economy, companies look towards redesigning their workplace to mitigate the further spread of the virus and prioritize the health and safety of their employees all the while following the government-mandated regulations.

Trends And Concepts (TAC) Principal Designer and VP of Design & Construction Management IDr. Charisse Gail Bantiling tackled how companies can strategically design their office for the return of the workforce in the current and post COVID-19 landscape. “In this discussion, given that we spend 90% of our day in the workplace, we want to understand what a healthier environment means and what human-centric designs do to benefit your business,” said Gail.

Gail shared her presentation and insights in Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Phils., Inc. (ANZCHAM) virtual event entitled “Designing for a Healthier Environment and What it means for your Business” and in European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) webinar entitled “The Office Comeback: Legal Considerations and Design Insights on Re-opening Workplaces” where she is joined by Atty. Eliseo Zuniga Jr. and Atty. Patrick Henry Salazar of Quisumbing Torres.

“We’re still acknowledging the fact that the physical workplace is something necessary to keep and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It is a place after all where we do our business agenda or social gatherings in general,” Gail expressed before delving into her topic and sharing the workplace strategies can implement.

The initial steps in reconfiguring the workplace are by creating a one-way entrance and exit system to enforce the physical distancing rule. Afterward, identify which areas have high and low traffic zones in order to optimize areas that need adjustment for capacity as well as finding which ones can be converted to an additional workspace or temporary rooms. Lastly, provide clear directive routes through the use of physical markers, it should be straightforward yet visually enticing for the user to examine and follow.

Once the initial steps have been accomplished, these strategies can be implemented in each part of your workplace beginning with the reception area.

For the reception area, ensure an enhanced entry and exit sequence, provide testing zones for temperature checks, take out unnecessary seats in consideration to physical distancing, and place sanitizing areas on visible spots.

Nearby the reception should be the isolation room in the case of an employee testing positive. The isolation room should be located close to the exit and must follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard protocol.

De-densify the workplace to accommodate physical distancing can be achieved by using the high and low traffic zones guideline which indicates the tables that are to be occupied and determines the capacity per wing. Ideally, you want to take out equipment and seats on the unoccupied spaces, otherwise, you can make use of markers as dividers and sneeze guards between workstations for protection.

Similarly, workplace mapping can help ensure dedicated seats, personal accountability, and clear workable rules of conduct per user through alternate seating arrangements with a minimum of 1.5-meter physical distancing.

Following the work area, you can introduce broader facilities or ancillary spaces with a much more relaxed setup and an abundant source of landscape and natural lighting. It can be reconfigured as an additional workplace, break room, or used to provide more individual spaces such as phone booths.


With the physical changes implemented within the workplace, facility management protocols are just as important as it goes hand in hand to promote safety and wellness in the office environment. “With intentional designs, operations, and policies, we can help occupants from becoming sick. Promoting practices that can keep occupants healthier,” said Gail

She extensively discussed facility management protocols on holistic hygiene measures, environmental parameters, educational training, and high technology facilities.
can help occupants from becoming sick. Promoting practices that can keep occupants healthier,” said Gail.

Holistic hygiene measures

  • Adequate and frequent cleaning, disinfecting and sanitation
  • Antimicrobial coating on frequently touched surfaces
  • Occupant and visitor hygiene
    • Sanitizing products on vantage points
    • Hygiene programs and protocols
    • Provision of personal sanitizing kits
  • Robust cleaning protocols with regular inspections, monitoring and maintenance activities

Environment Parameters

  • Assess sources of air pollution indoors
  • IAQ, water parameters, filtration mechanisms
  • Mold inspection, remediation, bio-fogging, nano-coated surfaces, non-porous and easy to clean material selection
  • UVC disinfection technologies for after office cleaning
  • Optimum temperature (as per ASHRAE 55) and relative humidity of 40-60% levels to improve indoor environmental conditions
  • Use of low-emitting and least hazardous materials

Educational Training

  • Programs to control workplace anxiety
  • Healthy work culture through resilient policies
  • Access to employees health needs
  • Access to healthy food selection
  • Require importance of personal and reusable cutleries

High Technology Facilities

  • Detection and contactless systems
  • Auto cleaning machines
  • Automated doors
  • Touch free sanitary facilities

Finally, Gail emphasized on employee-wellbeing, “As stakeholders, we have to consider the users – not only are we looking at the workplace in the lens of hygiene and sanitation, maybe we should try welcoming the idea of creating a space of quality, bringing emphasis to empathy and support, bringing in a lot of that data-driven design approach using intelligent and technology-based solutions, creating that symbiotic relationship between business continuity and employee-wellbeing.”

There are several considerations to take into account and practices to implement for the safety of all. Testing and probing will be needed to confirm the efficacy and practicality of these workplace strategies. So long as there are opportunities for change and adaptation, companies can move forward during this period in protecting and preparing the office for the workforce.

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Grass is greener with an outdoor space

May 12, 2020

Grass is greener with an outdoor space

The concept of Biophilia explains that humans have an innate tendency to connect with nature and other forms of life. This idea, throughout the years has brought the trend of bringing nature inside the office. However, in the ever-changing landscape of the workplace, the idea of bringing the workplace outside has also recently started to gain popularity.

In a study by Colarelli SM, O’Brien K, Boyajian ME (2016) on “Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes”, it was found that natural elements buffered the relationship between role stressors and job satisfaction, depressed mood, and anxiety. Ultimately, natural elements exposure and sunlight exposure was positively related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

With the continuous emphasis on employee health and well-being, more and more companies are seeing the importance of utilizing their outdoor spaces and now, even developers and owners of urban office buildings are now adding terraces and transforming once-barren rooftops into park-like settings, where workers can meet, interact, relax or even use them as alternatives areas to work. Although outdoor space has been considered as a “luxury” for offices, how exactly can these outdoor spaces give companies an edge when utilized to their full potential?


Stress Reducer

According to an online survey conducted by CNN Philippines, most Filipinos believe that their job or studies are the main causes of their stress. As such, stress can disrupt critical functions in the brain with regard to self-control and decision-making, which in turn encourages addictive behavior and poor lifestyle choices and thus, proves itself as a possible risk at school or in the workplace. With the proper use of their outdoor space, employers have the opportunity to help their employees lessen the effects of stress. Studies have shown that exposure to the outdoors, reduces Cartisol levels by 12% and increases one’s relaxation state by 55% and ultimately,  helping employers in managing to keep their employees happy and engaged.

Image via Land Design

Chance Encounters

Every organization seeks innovation in order to differentiate its products and services. According to an article by Gensler, Chance encounters are those occasions when people who have no scripted reason to be with one another–they may not even know one another–nevertheless find themselves together and end up co-creating the “Next Big Thing”. Outdoor spaces can serve as avenues for chance encounters as they are open to your employees from different divisions. Logic dictates that if one chance encounter leads to one innovation then surely a steady stream of chance encounters will lead to a multitude of innovations.


Image via glassdoor



As businesses continue designing green offices by creating lush green walls, decorating with plants, introducing sustainable materials and implementing various energy-efficient solutions, outdoor spaces serve as yet another invaluable avenue for a sustainability especially since the space is naturally exposed to the elements. An office patio, garden or balcony can become a natural oasis with the proper kinds of vegetation as they could help provide employees and tenants cleaner air as a long-term impact.

Image by Grove Collaborative

The concept of the outdoor experience would always be an important factor in workplace designs today. Even if offices do not have access to these outside spaces, there are a variety of ways to help your employees get the best possible experience. Nevertheless, outdoor spaces prove to be very effective areas that can be utilized to greatly benefit both employers and employees through smart and innovative designs.



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Building a positive environment in the workplace

April 27, 2020

Building a positive environment in the workplace

The workplace is more than just a location or setting for an individual to go to and simply work on their tasks, in order to effectively motivate employees and amplify their performance, building a positive environment in the office is paramount to achieve that goal.

In ‘The Six Essentials of Workplace Positivity’ by Elizabeth F. Cabrera, it states the benefits of establishing and maintaining a positive workplace: “It is beneficial for organizations because it leads to higher levels of motivation and performance. Positive employees make better decisions, are more creative and more productive, and have better interpersonal skills. Positivity is also good for employees because it enhances well-being and personal success. This, in turn, benefits organizations because employees appreciate their company’s efforts to improve their well-being, resulting in greater loyalty and commitment.”

Similarly, in other researches, it lists down major principles that are essential in creating a positive environment and healthy culture within an organization and workplace. The qualities of a positive workplace culture are:

“1.) Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends. 2.) Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling. 3.) Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes. 4.) Inspiring one another at work. 5.) Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work. 6.) Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.”

This goes without saying that there are steps and factors that can help you build a positive workplace environment.


Inclusive Workplace Design

Also known as ‘Design for all’ it’s primarily a design to create equal accessibility and opportunities for everyone. Inclusive workplace design can be closely related to agile workplace design as it both consider the diverse working styles of employees. Inclusive workplace design, however, includes the diversity of needs or differences of groups and individuals such as mental health, physical disabilities, and also their preference for working alone or in a group.

By creating an inclusive workplace design, employees may feel that their individual preferences and differences are welcomed. In line with this, employees will feel valued and nurtured within this type of office design, allowing for better productivity and positive culture.



Company culture

Teamwork, collaboration, open and honest communication are significant in creating a positive environment in the workplace as well as encouraging employees to participate in activities within the company that may give them a sense of purpose in their position in the organization. By fostering positive attitudes in the workplace, employees would work harder to allow the organization to have more opportunities.



People’s relationship with one another can enhance their wellbeing, therefore, improving their creativity and bringing out the best in their ability and performance, all the while avoiding stress. Positive relationships are essential for a person’s wellbeing and effectiveness. The factors that come into play in building positive relationships in the workplace are respect and appreciation, recognition, trust, and generosity.

“It is abundantly clear that being happy at work is a lot more important than simply coming home from work with a smile on one’s face – it is a cornerstone of individual, team and organizational performance.” – Kevin Weitz, Positivity (Happiness) in the Workplace and Organizational Change, 2011.

Workplace positivity, in essence, is a collective structure founded within the organization centered on the wellbeing, sense of purpose, and experience of employees. This structure can be external, such as the design of the office, or it can be through the management of the company to ensure employees are happy, healthy, and engaged.

Agile and inclusive office designs can be accomplished to ensure employees feel valued, satisfied, and productive. Trends And Concepts aims to promote workplace inclusivity through its design and build services while staying aligned to your requirements. To know more, visit

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Impact of COVID-19 and the rise of work-from-home setup

April 20, 2020


Impact of COVID-19 and the rise of work-from-home setup

In almost all countries worldwide, people are dealing with a time of a great lockdown, strict social distancing, and quarantine, which is part of the government’s agenda to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This outbreak has disrupted many areas, one of which is the workplace, where companies were urged to implement changes following the mandated community quarantine. Socio-economic impacts are being felt as well and it has affected people’s daily lives.


Social Impact

We are all aware that COVID-19 affects people regardless of their age, gender, class, and color. In the latest statistics, over 2 million cases have been reported worldwide; 611,880 recoveries while 164,938 deaths as of April 20, 2020. The Philippines has reported a number of 6,259 positive cases, 572 recoveries, and 409 deaths. The Philippines has a case fatality rate of 6.6 percent, slightly higher than the global average, which is 6.4 percent.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, certain populations in our society face discrimination and are more susceptible to the health and economic impact brought upon by the pandemic.

It states there that, “Early evidence indicates that that the health and economic impacts of the virus are being borne disproportionately by poor people. For example, homeless people, because they may be unable to safely shelter in place, are highly exposed to the danger of the virus. People without access to running water, refugees, migrants, or displaced persons also stand to suffer disproportionately both from the pandemic and its aftermath – whether due to limited movement, fewer employment opportunities, increased xenophobia, etc.”

To combat the virus amidst this landscape of lockdown, there’s a call for an all-out effort to save and protect the lives of all people, especially the vulnerable.


Economic Impact

Looking more closely at the economic impact caused by COVID-19, it’s been compared with the Global Financial Crisis back in 2008-2009 and is said to be as worst as the Great Depression.

According to the World Economic Outlook report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), due to the Great Lockdown, the global economy is projected to contract 3 percent in 2020, which is reported to be much worse than the 2008–2009 financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) reports that the Philippine economy could lose between $669 million and $1.94 billion. And also lose 87,000 to 252,000 jobs across the following sectors due to the outbreak: agriculture, mining and quarrying; business, trade, personal and public services; light/heavy manufacturing, utilities and construction; hotel, restaurants and other personal services, and transport services.

These projected outlook reports may seem like the future economic scene is bleak, not just for the Philippines but also worldwide. However, once this is all over, the urgency to bounce back will be much stronger and businesses will be better equipped with the experience of handling such a crisis.


Rise of the work-from-home setup

In light of the coronavirus, there’s been a great shift for a lot of businesses to implement a work-from-home arrangement. For companies with a traditional organization, it may seem difficult to adjust and embrace a remote way of working.

Bosses and employees may respond differently with their views and experience; some may find it difficult to focus on their tasks and feel more easily distracted working inside their home, while others enjoy working in the comforts of their home and being able to spend more time with their family.

The streets of Metro Manila are no longer bustling with the sound of vehicles and sidewalks are quieter than usual that’s because the traffic has transferred digitally into social media platforms and video-conferencing apps. Market trends are projected downwards, but apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts have experienced the opposite with a surge in demand and usage due to the rise of remote work.

Without a doubt, modern technology has made it possible for many of us to have business continuity during this crisis. And while traditional organizations and certain fields of work that require being on-site are disinclined to work at home, other companies may discover the opportunities behind the arrangement, which could open a path for employees to be given the option to work in the office or at home.

In other parts of the world where societies have already adjusted to the impact of COVID-19 such as China, associate professor of organizational behavior at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing Zhang Xiaomeng, shared, “The COVID-19 outbreak is just another chance for companies to re-examine the relationship between companies and employees, and to elevate their corporate culture to be mutually beneficial.”

Everyone and every sector have been affected by the pandemic, consequently, it’s certainly possible for a “New Normal” to arise, from governments handling the welfare of people in the society, economies implementing risk reduction management, and redefining new ways of working.

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Insight from Trends and Concepts’ CEO Joe Bantiling on creating a successful workplace

April 14, 2020

Insights from Trends And Concepts’ CEO Joe Bantiling on creating a successful workplace

“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” As quoted by Robert L. Peters, a renowned graphic designer and educator, this perfectly describes the foundation of successful organizations we see today.

As a pioneer in the design and build industry, Trends And Concepts has strived to be a model of corporate culture, community, and teamwork across their projects. The company prides itself at making office spaces that are considerate and understanding of its clients’ needs. Thus, we keep in mind these important elements when delivering our services.



The office is the window to your company’s culture. As most employees today spend one-third of their lives in the workplace, it has become their second home, which makes it vital to the company’s success.

“You have to look out for your people’s health and wellness, and treat them as your priority. A well designed and healthy work environment helps motivate employees to their best work. You want your workforce and your guests – anybody who sets foot in your office, really – to see that energy,” said Joe Bantiling.

Working environment satisfaction is one of the top reasons employees choose to stay in an organization. This means that a clean and organized workplace with a lively atmosphere, ample space, and sufficient facilities are crucial to keep employees engaged and their morale high.



A strong culture is a common denominator among the most successful companies. All have consensus at the top regarding cultural priorities, and those values focus not on individuals but the organization and its goals.

According to Joe Bantiling, “As the organization grows, we have to be able to retain the character of our people.” Meaning, we should be able to effectively mentor and pass our best practices and knowledge to employees.

Communication is key to strengthening company culture. After all, it impacts everything from how organizations reach decisions to how employees regard one another. Therefore, our workplace should be designed and set-up in a way where it is conducive to mentoring, collaboration and teamwork.



Last but not the least, the organization’s workplace values set the tone for a company’s culture, and they identify what your organization, as a whole, cares about. Proving that values are crucial in shaping the future of the organization.

As technology and the workplace continue to advance, “We always have to ask ourselves, what else can we improve as a member of the organization?” said Joe Bantiling.

Challenging employees starts with understanding the different factors that influence each individual’s day at work. A workplace is always about the welfare of the workforce. Joe Bantiling leads a team of architects, interior designers, engineers, and professionals, encouraging them to explore ways technology can be applied to support employees’ needs and enhance their projects to meet the vision and demands of their clients.

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