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Singapore Exclusive: I went back to the office and realized what’s the point of it

As we gear up to return to the office after working remotely for the past year, we can expect a few changes. Read on for some stories on what to expect and how to adjust. 

14 Feb 2022

On December 14 2021, the Singapore government officially announced that the remaining 50 percent of employees working remotely would be allowed to return back to the office. For most employers, this is a clear sign to reinstate working in the office as the default mode of work. 

Before the announcement, teams had been getting used to working remotely using effective conferencing software and cloud management tools. There has been feedback on how remote working has provided many with a fresh perspective on how work could be done in a different way. 

As we are beginning to see more of our staff and members working back in the office, we spoke to them to find out more about their remote working experiences, how they felt about coming back and if there is any point in returning back to the office

If you are curious to know about their experiences or would like to gather perspectives on the sentiments of future modes of working as a business leader, read on to find out more.

Zeila Sulaiman, Business Support Executive - RP International

What were your initial thoughts on returning back to the office?

I am happy to be returning back to the office after the government announced that working from home will not be the default mode of working anymore. Before that, I have been working from home most of the time and am so glad that I can finally see my colleagues face-to-face again when I’m back in the office.

How was your overall remote working experience?

It was fun initially as it felt like a novelty when most of the companies in the world were still predominantly working in offices. But, I started to feel drained after a few months because I needed a proper workspace.

My “workstation” was in my bedroom at home, which wasn’t a conducive work environment and definitely not a place to feel inspired. I found that there was no real separation between work and off-work periods. There were days when I would reply to my emails after working hours out of convenience.  It could be detrimental to my mental health if I do this long-term, so I prefer to have a dedicated and conducive workspace for myself during my working hours.

Did you find anything that worked better for you when you returned back to the office?

Yes, I’m on a hybrid working basis now, which is so much better for me. While I feel more motivated to work in the office, there are still perks while working from home at times too. This is especially so when I have to complete tasks that are really urgent or when I simply feel a little tired from commuting to work. So, I do appreciate the flexibility of a hybrid working model. 

But when it comes to communications, I’ve found it so much more effective and convenient to hold discussions in an office where everyone can be present and discuss in real-time without being interrupted by Wi-Fi disconnections or software glitches. To me, it felt a little more restrictive and even awkward at times when you are communicating with others over a screen. I feel that it is also easier to clarify matters with others when you are meeting them face-to-face. By experiencing better communications, I’m starting to feel more assured and confident at work.

What was it like seeing your colleagues again? 

Oh, I definitely missed the human interaction and was really excited to see my colleagues. Now, I get to interact and bond with them directly over lunch now instead of through conference calls. 

Which office facility do you appreciate the most, and how did it help you work better?

I’m thankful for being able to work in Arcc Spaces One Marina Boulevard as they have a wide range of facilities that I can use. 

I go to the business hub within the space, also known as the Drawing Room, when I just need a breather. The view from the Drawing Room is stunning and I can settle down there for a minute to clear my mind or even work or if I need an alternate working space for a change. Within the Drawing Room, there is also a coffee bar where I can enjoy complimentary handcrafted coffee brewed by the baristas. 

If I have to hold more private conversations or need to fully concentrate on my work, there are also private booths that I can make use of.

And of course, last but not least, the staff at Arcc Spaces are all fantastic!

Jessie Kie, Project Team Lead - Arcc Spaces

What were your initial thoughts of returning back to the office?

I felt that coming back to the office was somewhat expected as there had been news about the government allowing fully vaccinated employees back to their workspaces. However, I felt rather apprehensive as the Omicron cases had been rising in tandem with the ongoing COVID-19 cases. 

Also, there is greater contact with more people. For example, when I take public transport, meet work colleagues within the company or building and when I head out for lunch. All these scenarios increase the risk of exposure. Working from home has been effective for me during the past two years and returning to the office required some form of adaptation on my part.

I was happy to know our company was adopting a hybrid working approach and we will only come back twice a week. This schedule allows me to maintain the effectiveness of working from home and decrease the risk of exposure, which is very reassuring. 

At the same time, I was also delighted to be able to meet my fellow colleagues and mingle with them once again. Having worked from home for the past two years, I definitely look forward to hybrid working, especially one that is fun and interactive. 

How was your overall remote working experience?

It was rather refreshing as I felt more incharge of how my day goes. I was able to plan for my meals and look after my child, which definitely is the greatest plus point for a working mother like myself. It was a good learning experience as I was able to learn time management and be more independent. Working at home taught me to research and resolve challenges on my own. It made me more resourceful, instead of depending on my fellow colleagues’ or company’s help

I was also able to save on expenses and time such as transportation and buying meals. More importantly, I was able to adopt a more healthy lifestyle by preparing healthier ingredients and cooking fresh meals at home for myself and family. 

In summary, it has been a rather productive experience but there are still certain tasks that I would still prefer to do in an office environment, especially those that are more collaborative in nature. 

Did you find anything that worked better for you when you returned back to the office?

The current hybrid working arrangement is actually rather efficient. I spend two days in the office and three days remotely working at home.

During the two days in the office, I was able to better focus on facetoface meetings and discussions, compared to when I’m on conference calls. I tend to resolve tasks as well as challenges more easily and smoothly. The rest of the days are used for working on tasks that do not require my colleagues’ inputs which I can simply do from home.

What was it like seeing your colleagues again? 

It felt warm and fun when I reconnected with my colleagues. 

With the hybrid working model established, it makes meeting one another become a more valuable and authentic experience. Unlike working from home, we could always have social interactions, such as going out for lunch or having coffee together. This also helps us to understand one another better as we can see and feel each other’s emotions easily.

Which office facility do you appreciate the most, and how did it help you work better?

I appreciate having a spacious workspace with a complete workstation setup – a desk, office chair and a fast network connection. A well-equipped meeting room is also helpful when we have meetings or brainstorming sessions. The pantry offerings such as the wide varieties of tea and snacks available are also something that I will be missing when I work from home. 

CJ Ong, Head Manager - AUN Global Marketing

What were your initial thoughts of returning back to the office?

I actually had mixed feelings about it. As the pandemic was (and still is) lingering around, I was particularly worried about getting infected during my commute to the office or when I roam around the office premises. 

Working from home is indeed safer but it compromises my individual work productivity and quality. On the other hand, working in an office would allow me to focus much better compared to working from home. Moreover, I have to host virtual meetings with my clients at times and the office offers a more conducive environment to facilitate them. 

How was your overall remote working experience?

The first few weeks of the “Circuit Breaker” was a really comfortable period for me (i.e. I was able to get up later than usual, snack in between, etc). But over time, I found out that there are actually quite a number of tasks that require me to complete them back in the office and it is not possible for me to complete them at home. 

I would say remote working for a short period works fine. But looking further ahead, this option isn’t quite feasible, at least for me. I would rather return back to the office for work.

Did you find anything that worked better for you when you returned back to the office?

Yes definitely. There is a huge increase in my own productivity and performance at work. I am able to focus and execute my tasks better. I do not have to worry about “overtime” work, compared to remote working at home, which I usually do till late at night.

Face-to-face communication also resumed between my colleagues and clients, which makes it much more engaging compared to a dreadful virtual meeting. 

What was it like seeing your colleagues again? 

It was absolutely perfect! It is so much better when we could hold face-to-face discussions, compared to virtual meetings or phone calls. We could also solve problems better when everyone is present and engaging each other in the same space with solutions, challenges and alternatives. 

Overall, it is definitely much better to see everyone coming back to office again which also makes working a livelier and more productive experience. 

Which office facility do you appreciate the most, and how did it help you work better?

I simply love all the common spaces that Arcc Spaces One Marina Boulevard has to offer, from the concierge to the common spaces to the pantry area. The view of the Drawing Room in Arcc Spaces One Marina Boulevard never fails to captivate my clients when I host a physical meeting. It provides a great first impression as well unlike when I was conducting one through a conference call, which was always dull and uninspiring. Overall, I love the vibe within the entire office space and the conduciveness of the working environment!

If I need a quiet area to focus, there are also phone booths, where I can have a private space to myself. If I need a short break, I will go to Orion as it is a peaceful and relaxed space. I will never get to enjoy these alternative facilities if I were to work from home. 

Oh, not forgetting the professional baristas at work who never failed to brew great handcrafted cups of coffee daily for me to kickstart my day. Plus, these coffees are complimentary upon request and I’m not sure if any other workspace providers serve FREE handcrafted coffees for their members.. 

Cindy Chua, Graphics Designer - Arcc Spaces

What were your initial thoughts of returning back to the office?

I remember feeling excited when I was informed I had to return back to the office. Due to the mandatory work from home ruling, I didn’t get to meet many of my colleagues when I first joined this company. I am happy to finally meet all of them in-person, especially those that I work with in my team.

How was your overall remote working experience?

It was actually better than I thought it would be. I feel that working from home is efficient for me because I get to save on traveling time and get more work done from the time I saved.  The only disadvantage is I could only communicate via remote conferencing instead of a face-to-face discussion when I need my colleagues’ feedback or input.


Did you find anything that worked better for you when you returned back to the office?

I think face-to-face discussions work better and they can only happen when all of us return back to the office. As a graphic designer, discussions and explanations are important aspects of my day-to-day working life as I need to understand what my colleagues require from briefs. I find that I can understand and digest the information relayed from my colleagues better when I engage in a face-to-face discussion with them.

What was it like seeing your colleagues again? 

When I first joined Arcc Spaces, I never had the chance to meet my colleagues in the office due to the pandemic restrictions. The only way that I got to meet them was through conference calls. I finally got the chance to meet all of them inperson when I returned back to the office. They welcomed me enthusiastically, which makes me feel motivated. It was a good start for me to work together with them as a newcomer.

I also notice a huge difference in terms of communication at work. I can easily recognise body language and instantly understand feedback from my colleagues, compared to when I was working from home. This makes me more productive as well.  


Which office facility do you appreciate the most, and how did it help you work better?

I would say it’s the coffee machine. Coffee is a must for me every morning before I start work and I really enjoy the premium coffee available within 75 High Street by Arcc Spaces. The availability of a premium coffee machine also brings me much convenience as I can save time and money by simply getting it on the spot rather than heading out to queue at a café. 

Based on our members’ feedback, we can see that hybrid working will most likely be the future of work. However, it will require teams to decide for themselves how they can combine the best of remote working and working in office spaces to establish the most effective working model for themselves. 


As more companies begin to realise how remote working can benefit their teams, modern office spaces are also starting to evolve with the times to provide the most comprehensive and flexible solutions that can cater to different working styles. 

Whether you are a digital nomad seeking a prestigious address or full-fledged enterprise looking for private office suites with effective collaborative spaces, there is something for everyone at Arcc Spaces. We are a flexible workspace provider and can provide you with comprehensive working solutions, according to your requirements. 


Click here for more information on Arcc Spaces One Marina Boulevard.

Click here for more information on 75 High Street by Arcc Spaces.