Meet Tridiana Ong, Executive Director for Tenant Representation, who has an excellent track record in providing strategic transaction advisory services to various corporate occupier clients, including Fortune 500 companies.
How long have you been in the real estate industry, and how did you come to join Colliers?
I started my career with a competitor’s Research & Consultancy team back in 2007. Office leasing caught my interest immediately, and I subsequently moved to another competitor, where I stayed for over ten years before joining Colliers.
I used to paddle with a competitive dragon boat team for a short while, and I experienced first-hand how much further one can push when everyone breathes and paddles as one in the boat. The experience taught me about the importance of having the right energy and positive vibes in a team.
It’s only been a short three months since I joined, but I like what I see and feel here so far: The team has tremendous drive, energy, and potential growth opportunity! And I would have missed out on this if not for the persistence of Damian Pilat, Executive Director & Head of Career | Asia and Rick Thomas, Managing Director of Emerging Markets | Asia, in getting me out of my comfort zone.
Tell us about your current role with Colliers. What do you find most fulfilling about it?
"A mentor once taught me that instead of a broker, I should position myself as a consultant. I took it a step further, as I would like to think of myself as a real estate strategist for corporate occupiers looking for solutions to accommodate their ever-changing business needs."
I don’t see what I do as merely a job since I have gotten so much out of it. While money is important, it is often the non-monetary things that give me the additional kick.
What most people don’t know is that I studied architecture, and the process of developing something out of nothing – be it a building or simply dreaming up a strategy, concept or idea ꟷ is something that I really enjoy.
My fondest memory is when I visited the construction site of an upcoming building secured as part of a long-term solution for a client. The building has just obtained TOP and we completed the handover recently and to think that I started working on the master plan for this client’s real estate strategy almost seven years ago when they were just a quarter of their current size is simply amazing!
Having the chance to grow with your clients is one of the most valuable take-away for me and not mentioning about the good friends I have made along the way. One of my closest friends is a former client who used to be my most challenging client. The first six months serving her account was difficult, but once we established that mutual trust, the working chemistry was great, and we overcome numerous other challenging projects together. She taught me a lot about handling challenging situations with clients, and to this day, we still have good laughs over our past adventures.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would like to give your clients?
Good bespoke strategies are not commodities, so please don’t scrimp on fees for a good consultant!
How do you think the pandemic has changed the office market, and what are the opportunities?
Undeniably, the pandemic has changed the way we work, with remarkable technological advances allowing us to work from almost anywhere. However, I believe the rubber-band theory applies to many things in life: stretched enough, it will just bounce back or even snap. Working from home is taking a toll on many things, and people crave real social interactions beyond Zoom and Teams, and to a certain extent, some actual physical boundaries between work and personal life.
The consistent feedback I get from my clients is that while working from home might offer some level of convenience; everyone is generally looking forward to going back to the office and a “normal life”. Once the vaccination rate reaches a high level, the office market will bounce back stronger than before, as a significant part of the general working population will come back to the office with a “vengeance”.
CBD will remain a popular office location for its centralised location. However, as the working environment is reshaping, there will be greater attention to the building amenities and facilities among corporates as they face the demand for a working environment conducive to collaboration and agile enough to respond to changes in E&HS requirements.
While it might not have been a popular idea in Singapore, I believe companies with sufficient critical mass, such as the major MNCs, should consider looking at hub-and-spoke concepts that offer their employees alternative office destinations for collaboration. While Singapore might not be that large geographically, the convenience of a shorter commute might be attractive to the working population, and as we learn to live with COVID-19 as it becomes endemic, the multi-site operation might also help corporates in risk management for E&HS purposes.
Contact our Colliers Editorial team here.