Choosing the right place to call home

HRM provides a round-up of the most luxurious serviced residences in Asia, and looks at how service providers are setting the bar higher to create more memorable stays.

Sending employees overseas to international offices is becoming increasingly common in today’s business environment.

According to Global Mobility 2015 survey, 64% of multinational companies reported sending more employees overseas last year.

Healthcare, pharmaceutical and energy firms were key industries for growth, with the lack of technical and management skills in foreign countries given as top reasons for relocating employees.

The US (20%) and China (14%) were the top destinations for international assignments, while emerging locations included Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Spain.

Tay Hock Soon, General Manager, Treetops Executive Residences, believes that it is essential for employees to feel comfortable despite being away from home.

“The personalised services at an accommodation provide a human touch to the overall experience,” he says.

“This is particularly true for employees who travel frequently for business, as they are away from their family members and friends most of the time.”

Dedicated to environmental sustainability, Treetops adopts a “green” philosophy that inculcates healthy living practices through adding greener touches within the living areas and surrounding environment.

“We hope to nourish the body and elevate the spirit of our guests for a more fulfilling mind, body and soul experience,” Tay shares.

Janneve Lee, Marketing Lead at Wilby Residences, suggests that providing guests with a consistent, proactive, and personalised service is vital in making their stay memorable.

“Travelling to and navigating around the serviced apartment should be easy and fuss-free. Check in and check out procedures should be seamless and efficient,” she adds.

“Duly responding to requests and initiatives taken by staff play a major role as well.”

Pauline Heng, Vice President of Sales and Operations, Ariva Hospitality, says being able to make guests’ experience memorable is key to ensuring they enjoy their stay at Louise Kienne Serviced Residences.

“Employees need to feel a sense of ‘home’ when travelling and the accommodation they choose should have the same standard, if not higher,” she adds.

Deciding factors

At present, Wilby Residences has two prime locations at Central and Bukit Timah.

For each location, however, a different array of specialties is offered to accommodate to the needs of guests.

“Those who enjoy living in the heart of Singapore or have allergies would choose to stay at Wilby Central,” Lee says.

“The serviced apartments in Wilby Central are furnished with Sharp plasmacluster ionisers. These machines remove allergens and viruses in the air to promote comfort and wellbeing.”

Its other location at Wilby Bukit Timah caters more to those travelling with family.

“Guests who prefer a serene environment or who have children would prefer to stay at Wilby Bukit Timah which is surrounded by renowned educational institutions,” she shares.

“Wilby Bukit Timah has a kids pool and playground for the children to have some fun in.”

In addition, Louis Kienne implements a modern lifestyle designed for cosmopolitan travelers and seasoned city dwellers designed for business and leisure stays.

To ensure modernity, the apartments are fully furnished and provide guests with areas suitable for both their personal and professional lives.

“Residents we have spoken to, love Louis Kienne Serviced Residences as it’s a brand-new stylish apartment set in a relaxed neighbourhood with all the amenities and easy access to transport at the doorstep,” Heng says.

“Employees rate the property high on value for the design and clever use of space, which makes it very forward looking without compromising on comfort and quality.”

At Treetops, all apartments feature high efficiency air filters for better indoor air quality.

Tay shares that it offers unique personalised services and eco-luxury experiences, which have been deemed to be a deciding factor for employees who are looking to stay in Singapore.

“Treetops is also the ideal retreat for any city dweller who wishes to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, without compromising on conveniences,” he says.

“Complemented with seamless hospitality and the inculcation of a healthy living experience, Treetops offers a conducive and environmentally-friendly ‘home away from home’ for the most discerning traveler.”

Making it easier

While public transport is readily available at the doorstep, Louis Kienne makes it a point to go the extra mile in providing morning shuttle services to a nearby train station.

“Our daily continental breakfast, self-laundry services, extensive cable TV channels and complimentary Wi-Fi are services we offer to make a long stay easier for employees who stay with us,” shares Heng.

At Treetops, guest services are open 24 hours in a bid to attend to the needs of guests even in the wee hours of the morning.

Daily complimentary breakfast, house-keeping services and facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and barbeque pits are also one of the many accommodations that Treetops has to make each stay an easier one.

With its apartments designed to be an individual living environment, Tay shares that there have been increasing requests to accommodate additional family members within the same unit.

As such, Treetops’ two and three-bedroom apartments are designed with dedicated living and dining areas, with comfortable space to house family members.

Wilby Residences offer a complimentary airport transfer to ease any concerns when first travelling to the apartments. The business also provides a daily shuttle bus service which travels through Holland Village and the City Centre.

Other considerations

Safety, accessibility and comfort are the three key factors that Heng advises employees to look out for in their accommodation.

This helps employees or HR to prioritise their needs into the given budget.

In addition to that, Tay specifies that the overall distance to workplaces, convenience of transportation to work destination, safety and provision of amenities, and high standards of services should also be considered.

“They should also consider the type of room where they stay, to ensure that they have ample and comfortable work space as well, and are able to have quality rest after a hard day at work,” Tay shares.

“In addition, having larger public spaces within the residential estate, such as a garden and a courtyard to enjoy a slow walk in or a nice pool area to relax at over the weekend, is also a very attractive feature to have, especially for longer business trips.”

This way, the employee can have more space for leisure or unwinding rather than being only restricted to the space inside the room unit.

Lee agrees that the entire complex should be taken into consideration.

“The location should be ideal and convenient by suited to their lifestyle. The ease of access to city centres and connection to public transportation is crucial,” she says.

“Security of the serviced apartment and its area would be another factor to explore.”

Opting for quality

Companies should always ensure that the welfare of their travelling employees is well taken care of.

“At Treetops, we believe that a good quality living environment is essential in maintaining the wellness of guests so that they can have a ‘home-away-from home’ to return to at the end of the day for proper rest , and recharge to perform their best for the next work day,” explains Tay.

Particularly for mid to long term accommodations, Tay notes that sleep is essential for every guest at Treetops.

To stand out from the rest, it uses certified mattresses designed by top orthopedic surgeons and clinicians in all the apartments.

“With that, guests can enjoy a mattress that is ergonomically designed for correct orthopedic support and advanced comfort to improve the quality of sleep,” he adds.

For Lee, each and every stay experience at Wilby Residences is its own individual journey.

“Compromising quality in their stay would mean undermining of their comfort and service standards received,” says Lee.

“After a day of hustle and bustle, everyone loves to return to their cosy nest and unwind. And so, it’s essential to opt for quality to enjoy top-notch service and support throughout the stay.”

What are your concerns?

As more companies send their employees abroad for overseas assignments, it is often HR’s job to ensure that the needs of these employees are met abroad.

According to the Cartus’ 2014 Trends in Global Relocation report, 77% of mobility managers are most worried about controlling costs while also meeting the business needs of each assignment.

Other concerns also include housing (47%) and compliance-related issues (45%).

In addition to these, the report found that “stealth expats”, visa and immigration issues are critical risks when relocating employees.

An overwhelming 83% of managers said they now see more need for upfront planning than ever before.


Singapore: A top destination for expats

Singapore has been ranked the top destination in the world, according to The HSBC Expat Explorer survey.

This was due to the fact that the nation provides the right balance of career opportunities and lifestyle, and a stable economy.

It also scored the highest in terms of confidence in the economy, with 70% of expats polled being positive about the country’s financial direction.

This is compared to the average of 48% of expats in other countries expressing confidence in their adopted home.

Moreover, 59% of Singapore expats also think that Singapore is a good place for them to advance in their career, and another 53% feel that they are able to acquire new skills locally.

When asked to rank the countries based on career prospects, financial well-being, quality of life, and ease of settling for partners and children, Singapore came in first place, followed by New Zealand, Sweden, Bahrain and Germany.


Would you contemplate working abroad?

A whopping 97% of present jobseekers admit they would think about leaving Singapore for a chance to work abroad.

According to a survey by recruiting firm Hays, 85% of them would leave for better job opportunities, career development or exposure, while another 12% would depart for lifestyle aspects.

The remaining three percent would not think twice when given the chance to work in another country.


Analysing the Workday advantage

Sandeep Aggarwal, Chief Financial Officer of Aon-Hewitt Asia-Pacific, shares his thoughts on the Workday finance and HR analytics platform. He says the cloud-based system is intuitive and easy-to-use, but still provides powerful insights across the functions.

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