The lease for one of the five floors Colliers International in Vancouver occupied at 200 Granville Street was set to expire.
While other companies might have considered the situation daunting and inconvenient, the commercial real estate firm viewed it as the perfect opportunity to enhance its workspace.
With its 300 employees located on five separate floors, Colliers recognized it could benefit from additional boardrooms and open areas where team members could bridge the gap, collaborate and share. Plus, with more meeting space, the firm could better entertain its partners and visitors, conduct business and hold client events.
And so came about the redesign of Colliers’ Canadian headquarters, a year-long process that has taken the growing commercial real estate firm’s workspace from five floors to four, from functional to cutting edge.
“With our various business lines located on numerous floors, an office design that both encouraged and maximized interaction was key,” explained Suzanne Bedford, Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations for Colliers International in Canada. “We conducted a careful audit of our workplace layout and recognized that we needed a more open concept so employees could go beyond co-existing and truly work as a team. We needed breakout areas and more meeting rooms so they could get together, brainstorm, and hash out creative ideas and solutions. We also wanted to provide our people with more ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing workstations.”
Now, Colliers’ redesigned work areas boast an open plan, fostering cohesion and collaboration. Users can take advantage of the reconfigured boardrooms, which offer more flexibility. Whether it’s a one-on-one discussion, a brainstorming session or a training seminar, there’s a room for it. Plus, employees have all they need to ensure productive meetings and impactful presentations, thanks to the boardrooms’ state-of-the-art technology, from built-in iPads to high-definition projectors. Workstations also got a facelift; the new and improved desks have a white scheme for a more modern and lighter feel, and are positioned close to windows for optimal airflow.
Colliers’ renovation also caters to one of the company’s core values: fun – and with fun comes socializing and entertainment, which the new space fully promotes. The “Colliers Café” features table and bar seating, vibrant artwork, as well as a flat screen television, for team members to enjoy as they eat their meals, catch a break – or catch up with colleagues. And should an employee need a place of refuge or rest, a dedicated room is available for this very purpose.
“Our people generally spend considerable hours at work,” explained Bedford. “We wanted to provide them ‘a home away from home’, a place they can look forward to going to, every day.”
Colliers’ new space definitely makes an impact, not just on current employees, but potential ones, too, giving the firm a distinct advantage in recruiting talent. “I can honestly say that in my entire career, this is the best space I’ve ever worked in,” said Bedford. ”We do see our new office design as a key point of difference for attracting candidates.”
The renovation certainly elevated the Colliers employee experience. But what about the Colliers client experience?
The new, expanded reception and lounge area has much to offer employees and clients alike. When team members and visitors walk in, they get to soak in stunning, floor-to-ceiling views of the North Shore Mountains and contemporary photography showcasing scenic Vancouver. Mounted flat screens update them on Colliers’ prime listings and latest industry events. And should they need a caffeine kick, they need not look further than the ever-whirring, top-of-the-line cappuccino machines. These amenities, along with a complete bar service setup, provide the quintessential arena for a gathering, be it a business meeting or client function. Making the most of this social space, Colliers professionals have used it to host team parties, cocktail receptions, even a Casino Night – events clients have enthusiastically attended, setting the stage for effective yet entertaining networking, the perfect combination of work and play.
“We wanted to build a workspace that was warm, welcoming and friendly for both our people and clients,” said David Bowden, CEO of Colliers International in Canada. “And based on the feedback we’ve received, we achieved just that. It’s interesting because while we thrived in our offices pre-renovation, now, we can’t imagine going back to the old design. Our current office design has brought our productivity and connectedness – to our peers and partners – to a whole new level.”
According to Bowden, the redesign also demonstrates a service Colliers can provide its clients: “The enhancements we made to our offices highlights how we, in turn, can help our partners create an effective, enjoyable workspace. When they come through our doors, they can see our expertise and its benefits in action.”
Given the now world-class state of its Vancouver offices, are there further modifications Colliers would like to undertake down the road? “Eventually, we would like to have fewer individual offices to make room for more open work areas, and upgrade our lighting for even better energy efficiency,” Bedford said. “We would also like to transform the glass partitions in our lounge area into moveable glass doors to create even more collaborative space. After all, you can never have too much collaborative space.”