By Chuck Scott, CEO, Canada
I’m always amazed at how much office space requirements have changed over the course of my career. I have been in the industry for a number of years and have witnessed several times over this ever-evolving ‘new standard’ of office space. Here are a few things I’ve come to notice.
Meet you at the water-cooler
Not that long ago, when there was little technology and offices were poorly designed, people actually engaged with one another a lot more. When email didn’t exist people were forced to pick up the phone and have a chat. On the same note, when WebEx didn’t exist, we had to physically meet with our colleagues and clients to have that personal interaction. There’s a reason for the expression ‘water-cooler talk’, at one time, people actually took the time to connect with one another and get caught up on what’s happening at work and on a personal level. That was a time when we didn’t have all these wonderful technologies at our finger tips and weren’t incessantly bombarded by social media feeds, emails, and text messages. It was a time when connections were personal – more than a ‘Like’ or emoji heart.
Isn’t it ironic?
In today’s fast-paced and modern world, we have to intentionally create opportunities for people to have a reason to talk with one another face-to-face. Office spaces are now designed to encourage conversation and collaboration between employees because technology has made our work life such that we physically don’t require the need to see each other in person. Collison points are baked into floor plans to subtly encourage employees to interact with one another. It’s at these collision points where conversations are started, relationships are built across teams, and ideas and challenges are exchanged. It’s this type of interaction that brings us back to a time when we as a workforce were more engaged with one another (on a human level) instead of being glued to our phones and computers. I find it ironic, and truthfully, a bit amusing that we now have to design our spaces to make something so simple come to life.
It’s all about the best of both worlds…
Our Canadian headquarters recently consolidated the two legacy offices and moved into a state-of-the-art workplace that brings together the best of both worlds – incredible technology that enables our employees to deliver their best, while creating a space that inspires collaboration and employee engagement. I have personally noticed that by bringing together all these incredible minds under one roof has created an energized environment, and I already see communication and collaboration between teams increasing.
In this new space we have also made employee well-being a top priority – providing our people with sit-to-stand desks, increased access to daylight, healthy snacks, and varied options and flexibility in the way people choose to work. Above and beyond the flashy digital screens that you’ll find throughout the office, enhanced technology made-easy for our employees to access is key in delivering a flexible and collaborative work environment. To help turn ideas into action, the meeting rooms are outfitted with interactive SMART Boards, and are equipped with fully integrated plug and play presentation, video, and audio-conferencing technology, and Skype integrated web conferencing. The seemingly endless meeting spaces throughout the office offer different environments, depending on your audience and your needs. Some are glass walled, visible to all who walk by, while others are tucked into a corner with more privacy and fantastic views of the city. This has created a perfect balance between the old and new world office space. We now have that personal connection and community feeling once again flanked with incredible technology and design.
Our office move was not just about floorplates and bricks and mortar, it was about our people and empowering them with the tools and technologies to give their best – so our clients continue to receive world-class services no matter how big or small their need might be. It’s a place that inspires creativity, collaboration, and turns ideas into action. I invite you to come experience this for yourself and visit us in our new home, at 161 Bay Street.
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Chuck is a respected leader in the commercial real estate industry with over 20 years’ experience. He is responsible for overseeing the Canadian operations of Cushman & Wakefield Ltd. as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Prior to being named CEO Canada, Chuck was President of Global Occupier Services in Canada where he delivered unmatched corporate real estate platform management, global business development, and corporate occupier/investor real estate services to some of the firm’s largest clients.