An image of a newly renovated and refurbished migrant worker dormitory, that has new bunk beds, standing fans, personal shelves and cushioned benches, with natural light shining through the windows.
There is a large bold header that states, “Happier workers, healthier business: Designing the future of migrant worker dormitories.”
There is a button in the middle that prompts you to click on it to, “Read more about our human-centered approach to dormitory design.”
There is are to logos of Agency and DASL to show the collaboration between the 2 organisations, with accompanying text that says, “In collaboration with Dormitory Association Singapore."
On the upper half of the composition, there is an image of old and messy bunk beds in a common migrant worker dormitory, with clothes, towels, bags and toiletries strewn all over it.
There is a bold title over it that states, “300,000+ migrant workers live in Singapore’s dormitories. The stakes are high.” And is accompanied by regular text below that states, “How do better living environments benefit both worker communities and the business success of dormitories?.”
The lower half of the composition is a pastel green, with 3 numbered points. Point 1 states, “Migrant Workers feel a sense of home, and treat their dormitory with ownership and accountability.” Point 2 states, “Dormitory Managers and Operators save time and resources on regulating cleanliness and disorganisation.” Point 3 states, “Employers
have more productive workers who live in happier and healthier communities.”
The composition has an image of new bunk beds with shelving on its side that allow personal customisation such as adding mirrors or hooks. On the left is bold title that states, “Designing for ownership, community,
and cleanliness to create a sense of home.” And is accompanied by regular text below that states, “Guided by rigorous field research, we built and tested small-scale interventions with high potential impact in an existing room with 8 workers. We also worked with dorm managers on a scalable orientation experience to help ease new workers
into dorm life.”

On the right side of the image, there are 3 images arranged in a vertical column. The first image from the top shows personal locker spaces, and shelves and baskets that can be hooked onto the wall beside the bunk beds. There is text below that states, “Privacy and personal storage.” The middle image shows a wide shot of the dormitory room, that has a common space with benches and small tables in the foreground. In the background are the the bunk bed and personal shelving. There is text below that states, “boundaries between personal and social space.” The bottom image shows clocks with Singapore and India time, and a small booth that has walls on the sides to act as screens. There is text below that states, “reminders of home and ability to call home.”
The composition has an image as its background that shows an open book, with pages that show blueprints of a new migrant worker dormitory layout.
There is a bold title on the top of the image that states, “Empowering dormitory operators with design principles, not one-size-fit-all solutions.” Below is a pastel green box with text inside that states, “A Home, Not a Dormitory* To motivate workers to take ownership of
their living space, and help them feel at home.” Below the green box is a translucent green box with 3 bullet point that state, “This might look like:
Privacy dividers to create a sense of personal space in crowded rooms
A storage system to organise and safeguard personal belonging
Separating clean ‘rest zones’ from zones for dining and socialising.”
At the bottom of the image is a footnote that states, “*This is one of 11 design principles and 7 behavioural principles.”
There is a background image of migrant workers using and living in the refurbished dormitory, they are lying or siting in their beds in the night.
On the top of the image is a bold title that states, “These were the changes we saw.” Below the title there are 3 transparent boxes with white outlines arranged in a vertical order. Inside the first box on the top there is a subhead that states, “Migrant Workers” and is accompanied by text that states, “Tidiness became intuitive, Healthy communal boundaries emerged, Feeling of home was amplified.” The second or middle box has one subhead on the left that states, “Dormitory Managers” accompanied by text that states, “New teams set up to build community” and another subhead on the right that states, “Dormitory Operators” accompanied by text that states, “Principles applied to their own dormitories.” The last box on the bottom has a subhead that state, “Industry Association” accompanied by text that states, “ More investment in training management teams.”
There is a background image of a refurbished, white and clean toilet and laundry space, with baskets for toiletries hanging on the walls and laundry hanging from racks and poles in the ceiling. There is a bold title that states, “This is just the beginning.” There is accompanying text below that states, “We are one step into our journey towards to long-term, positive impact for migrant workers, dormitory operators, and the wider industry. If you are interested in creating a world where business impact and empathy intersect, get in touch with us.”

Re-designing the dormitory experience for Singapore’s migrant workers

We set out to improve residents’ quality-of-life and sense of community, leading to a greater sense of ownership and lower long-term maintenance costs.

With validated learnings from immersive research and prototyping small changes in an existing dorm room, we published a set of recommendations not only on space, tools, and processes, but also on new behavioural principles for dormitory owners, managers, and residents.

Special thanks to DASL for the opportunity!

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