You can’t create world-class employees in a third-world environment, so it makes sense to invest in a workplace that is fun and nurturing, says PKT Logistics. JOY LEE reports.

PKT Logistics’ Datuk Michael Tio enjoys creating a happy workspace for his employees.

But it is not just about building a “googley” environment, as Tio likes to describe it. More importantly, it is about encouraging and nurturing his staff to be top-notch employees.

“There is no stopping Malaysia from being world-class. We should always improve and benchmark ourselves to be a world-class company. And we want our employees to be world-class, so we must give them a world-class working environment.

“We can’t create world-class employees in a third-world environment,” he explains.

Tio notes that his effort to create a fun working environment at The Ship, a 180,000 sq ft cross-dock distribution centre at PKT’s hub, turned out to be quite a hit with PKT’s staff. The company had installed a gym and shipping-themed pantries and bright relaxation corners at The Ship.

When The Lighthouse was completed, Tio decided to also extend his concept to the 15-storey structure, giving each floor a theme.

But he wanted the themes to be relatable to his staff and drew inspiration from the places that he had visited with his management team and staff during company trips or places that were related to PKT’s business.

For example, the seventh floor is outfitted to look like the Lake Agnes Tea House in the Canadian Rockies. The management team had gone for an Alaskan drive during one of their trips and was frankly quite taken in by the tea house that they had stopped at.

And the eighth floor is designed with a Japanese theme to inculcate the Japanese way of thinking at PKT. The floor comes complete with a tatami floor sitting and a sushi table.

Tio is quite meticulous when it comes to dressing up the office.

On the ninth floor, which is designed to look like a Kirawira camp in the Serengeti, there is even a real Kirawira tent erected to add authenticity to its theme!

But Tio’s favourite is the 11th floor, where his office is located. The pantry area, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s kitchen, has an island fit for a cooking demonstration. Tio has christened it DMT’s Kitchen.

The reception area on that floor has also been dressed up to look like a bar, which serves real food and drinks. And DMT’s Kitchen has even developed several signature dishes of its own.

Tio acknowledges that the investment to create such a space is significantly higher than a regular office. But he sees the returns on investment in his staff, who thrive in a happier and healthier work environment.

The Lighthouse has also attracted the interest of other parties and receives visits from various government agencies, companies and even educational institutions who have been inspired by what Tio has done to the place.

“I’m bringing the best of the world here,” he says.