Richard (left) and Hsi Chang spearheaded a project to improve the check-in/out process for campus residences across the University.
Richard Ong
Office of Housing Services
Thoo Hsi Chang
Senior Associate Director
Office of Housing Services

Delivering quality campus stays

Each year, from April to August and November to January, the Office of Housing Services (OHS) handles a high volume of operational processes for residents across residential colleges, halls and residences on campus.

These processes include mass student check-ins and check-outs at the beginning and end of each semester, and conference groups who wish to have short-term stays during semester breaks. With short turnaround time between the conference group stays and the student check-in period before the new semester, temporary staff were hired to help with the upkeep of rooms, as well as provide administrative and operational support.

With new challenges brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic, OHS had to redesign its operations to align with safe management measures, and at the same time improve efficiency and manage costs effectively. In April 2020, OHS launched an initiative that leveraged technology to streamline the check-in and check-out processes. These processes were digitised or eliminated to reduce waiting time for residents. To enhance the check-in process, a QR code was implemented. For contactless check-outs, residents can deposit their keys in a drop box and make contactless e-payments.

Richard Ong, Director of OHS, shared that the initiative was successfully implemented during the mass student check-out period in December 2020 and check-in period in January 2021. “Moving ahead, we will be fine-tuning and implementing these new processes during the next mass student check-in period in August 2021,” he said.   

During peak periods, the roles of various OHS staff are reassigned to support the increase in service volume. For example, the HR, finance, procurement and allocation teams are deployed for room inspection operations, as well as to assist as Service Ambassadors during resident check-ins. Staff from the operations team also take on more responsibilities; eliminating the need for temporary staff hires, with cost savings as an end-result.

“This project helped to improve teamwork between OHS units. The staff also gained a greater understanding of our campus residences, and the various operational challenges,” said Thoo Hsi Chang, Senior Associate Director at OHS. Hsi Chang was heartened that senior leadership supported and encouraged staff on the required changes. “Our team members were cooperative and open to these changes, even when it meant going the extra mile. The operations managers and staff conducted training and provided onsite support to help those who are taking on new roles to familiarise with the processes,” he added.  

The successful outcome of this project has paved the way for more collaborative efforts between various OHS units and staff from all levels, to improve the campus experience for residents.


Organisational Excellence is a strategic initiative undertaken by the University to develop best practices for an efficient and world-class administration to better support NUS’ Vision and Mission. It aims to bring about improved work processes and policies as well as create opportunities for talent development and growth.


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