First embraced by the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook, the open-office concept can now be found in companies big and small worldwide. Even Keppel Land has chosen to adopt this innovative plan when it moved into its new premises at Keppel Bay Tower last year.

Often regarded as the workplace of tomorrow, the open-office trend has gained popularity because it promotes creativity and encourages collaboration. The removal of cubicles also symbolises the reduction of hierarchical structures and the elimination of social barriers—personnel across various levels and departments are now empowered to kickstart conversations wherever they are. This increased sense of mobility will also help facilitate a greater exchange of ideas.

An open-space layout brings with it a whole new working experience altogether. You’ll get to meet and mingle with new colleagues, including the following colourful personalities. So smile, and don’t forget to say hi.

The Silent Disco Dancer

Never seen without his pair of noise-cancelling headphones, going to work is like attending a concert for this music buff. No two days are alike for this aficionado, who’s prepared a mind-boggling number of playlists to suit every taste and mood. On some days he’s bobbing along to EDM mix by Martin Garrix, and on others he’s swaying to best songs of mandopop. Music fuels his productivity—he’ll crank up the volume while working on his proposals and sending you that calendar invite for a 4:00pm meeting the next day.

The Handyman

The saying is true: Not all superheroes wear capes—he’s an Avenger who doesn’t need any superhuman strength to save the world. He’s the one person every office needs; that one helpful colleague who always has a solution to your problem, big or small. Something wrong with your computer but the IT personnel is unavailable at the moment? He’ll troubleshoot it for you. The photocopier isn’t working? Watch him open some parts, press some buttons and magically bring the machine back to life. Consider it done.

The "Chiongster"

Like what the colloquial term “chiong” suggests, time and speed is of the essence for this colleague. She’s at her desk 20 minutes before everyone starts work so that she can ‘chope’ or reserve a seat by the window (it offers the best view, or far away from the bosses). And it’s not just her favourite desk space she’s rushing for—she’ll rush to go for lunch and rush home once the clock strikes six in the evening.

The Master of Zen

It’s a cliché, but the phrase, “Keep calm and carry on” best describes her life philosophy. It doesn’t matter if the seconds are ticking down to that report deadline, a sense of calm always permeates from her. And it’s not because she’s a qualified Yoga teacher who spent her sabbatical in India realigning her chakras. Also, it doesn’t matter where she sits in the office—her personal space is like a picture of a Japanese Zen garden. Organised, minimalist and a little OCD at the same time, her stationery is always arranged neatly. Her pet peeve? Colleagues who are messy and don’t keep to their side of the shared desk.

The Loudhailer

Sound travels far and wide—especially in an open-office environment where there are no walls to block out any unwanted noise. Like it or not, this means you’ll have to hear whatever this colleague says. You’ll know that she’s got an early meeting tomorrow that she’s not looking forward to. Or that she’s planning to head to Iceland for his next big holiday. It’s not that she’s inconsiderate—she just possesses a booming voice box. However, a gentle nudge is enough to remind her to keep her volume down… until the next time she decides to speak up again.

Can you identity any of your colleagues who fall under any of these characters? Comment and tag them to laugh about it together!

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