Workplace evolution inspired by collaboration

Canada Life’s new collaborative workspace has redefined the office’s purpose to encourage social inclusion and flexible working.

Key features

  • Natural light
  • Biophilia
  • Communal workspace
  • Private booths
  • Natural timber
  • Improved M&E systems

Canada Life's foremost requirement was to create more collaborative work settings, ones which sit comfortably next to open plan workstations. Today, with staff embracing flexible working more than ever, the office isn’t the main work setting for many employees. Staff now come to the office with a different set of goals and expectations, so variety was a key part of the brief.

Agile offices rely heavily on different furniture types to define terms of use and engagement. This meant we spent considerable time understanding the requirements and desires of Canada Life’s employees.

Stereotype overhaul

Insurers are often painted with a corporate brush. They’re seen to be formal, traditional and conservative. Canada Life wanted to reinforce its unique market position as a modern firm by providing an environment that communicates its true core values.

Adding value

A light-filled atrium takes up a quarter of the office’s footprint on the ground floor. We wanted to add value to the building by converting this underutilised space near the reception into a social hub. We replaced a few mismatched chairs with a fully-equipped coffee bar and a comfortable seating area with sofas and tables. This buzzing one-stop café is ideally positioned as a waiting area for clients and a breakout space for employees.

Reimagining the office

Each of the four floors follows a similar layout. Bookable workstations are positioned along the sunny perimeter surrounding informal huddle areas and a teapoint in the centre. Our mix of furniture options includes a lounge suite with an overhead arch on one end for acoustic privacy, sofas and ottomans, a high table with stools, as well as custom-built timber bleachers and benches.

We also reduced the number of formal meeting rooms and internal barriers to achieve higher levels of ventilation, maximise daylight and encourage movement between zones. However, recognising the need for some privacy, we balanced the open plan environment with a handful of quiet pods and phone booths on each floor. These areas allow employees to make calls, focus or read without interruption. The drop-in acoustic phone booths, in particular, are perfect for catching up with colleagues working remotely.

Our design has softened the industry’s corporate edges with domestic touches, including natural timber materials, polished metal finishes, lots of plants, textured upholstery on sofas and artwork. One of our favourite non-traditional furniture pieces is a trendy A-frame timber and steel eight-person desk with overhead hanging plants and integrated data and power points.

Collaborative community

By transforming their workplace into a collaborative community, Canada Life have enticed their employees back to the office.

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