Take you an office tour to Haleon Shanghai: a workplace awarded gold certification internationally

Posted in: Department of Social & Policy Sciences, Placements

Greetings from Hanqin! I am a Social Sciences student in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences , currently working in the role of Workplace Solutions in Haleon (formerly GSK), Shanghai.

How my story starts

I planned to travel back to China for the Chinese New Year at the beginning of 2024. My manager had kindly approved my long annual leave and, generously suggested that ‘You can actually work in our Shanghai office for a week. Don’t forget, our job is always about understanding people’s workspace, and after all Shanghai office is one of our destination hubs!’.
For 100 percent sure and without hesitation, I should say a big ‘YES’ and made it happen. I reached out to our Shanghai Office colleagues and the local operation team, and they were very welcoming. We easily arranged the visit. Can you imagine how good it could feel when you are working in another country, speaking English every single day/ hour/ second, but then in the other day speak your mother tongue with your colleague from your home country? All in all, everything happened smoothly and quickly.
The office is in Shanghai’s international business district, and there is a variety choice of foods, cafes, drink places and antique shops nearby, with an important transport hub in shanghai that allows you to easily get to anywhere. The workspace itself has gotten the gold well platinum certification - an international certification that evaluates and recognizes buildings which promote human health and wellness. Simply, such a dream place to work!!

Put ‘having fun’ aside, how’s work?

Fun part aside, I have brought a task with my visit: producing a report on ‘how do cultural differences impact people’s engagement of workspace’. First, let me give you some background about my job: we aim to understand people’s office behaviour in the post-covid time, with popular and favoured hybrid and flexible work pattern. Our goal is to build a more supportive and responsive work environment and facilitate strategic decision-making to rightsize the office space. We have sensors in our office to analyse how people utilise the space, their busiest times, and their preferred workspace, such as collabrative spaces or meeting rooms.

With the purpose to support a better global portfolio optimisation and management, through understanding how the east work culture in the global context of hybrid working can be, I designed a simple survey to interview a diverse group of people. Interestingly, I found that due to the influence of Fengshui – a Chinese tradition that balances energies (Yin and Yang) - the layout has been changed every year. However, because of the knowledge gap between the International headquarter and APAC Offices, people weren’t aware of how important it was to align the sensors with the layout. We spent over 160,000 dollars on space data services over the past three years – but the service provider was not updated on layout changes, leading to potential data inaccuracies.
As the person somewhere perfectly work in the middle, in the middle between London and Shanghai, and between the western and eastern cultures, I played a role in bridging this gap to prevent money waste and data inaccuracies. We mapped out the differences between layout and recorded floorplan, worked with the service team to make the changes immediately, and conducted a gap analysis to highlight global guidebook misalignments, standardising the entire reporting process. It is not just about the achievements and contributions that I have made, it is also a fantastic way to show my colleagues the importance of dedicating ourselves to an environment of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. New perspectives and cultural understandings can bring something you could never have imagined.

I hope my experience not only showcases the exciting work experience that I have but also helps you learn how to identify your role and position yourself in a global team and how to make the most of your identity as an international!

Posted in: Department of Social & Policy Sciences, Placements


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