Over time, the City will consolidate its downtown real estate footprint from six buildings to three.
The decision to move to a brand new commercial tower was part of the City’s vision to invest in downtown Edmonton. Ensuring that Edmontonians have the highest quality urban experience, with improved architecture and urban design, was a key goal leading to the choice to lease space in Edmonton Tower. Our workplace strategy complements the adoption of the new tower by realizing a more contemporary and collaborative environment provided by new construction.
Moving to Edmonton Tower has provided an opportunity for the City to undertake a total re-think of how office work and service to residents are done in the 21st century. Years of research and consultation have yielded exciting results in terms of efficient space utilization, improved technology tools and the promise of a more satisfied workforce likely to stay with the City for longer. Bottom line - better use of the taxpayer dollar. But Edmonton Tower is just a trigger for change. The new ways of working will ultimately reach across all City business units and work groups.
New Workplace Design
The City is intentionally designing workspace for benefits in three key areas:
- Sustainability at three levels - people (wellness and human-centric design), environment (LEED Gold project), financial (reducing operational and capital costs through design).
- Attraction of talent - ensuring people are able to choose the best tools for their job will bring the best to our organization and retain them for longer.
- Productivity - enhanced internal collaboration and communication.
Scott Varga, the City of Edmonton’s workspace design lead for Edmonton Tower, says the City has adjusted its real estate strategy, moving from multiple downtown buildings to just three. A centralized real estate approach will realize significant ongoing savings in productivity, specifically in downtime due to travel. Analysis shows that the City could save $4 million a year just in reduced foot-travel between buildings.
“The centralized approach of moving to a new downtown tower with a much larger floorplate will improve the potential for enhanced communication and collaboration. Allowing for more mixing and mingling of Departments and teams will ignite sparks of inspiration and solutions in unexpected ways,” says Scott.
This new approach to designing 21st century office environments means the “open office” with a twist. Employees will be grouped in “neighbourhoods,” but will have multiple choices in where and how they work, from their own desk to a shared desk to many closed and open quiet spaces and meeting rooms of varying sizes. Hotelling stations will accommodate those who are “dropping in” to visit with client areas or simply need a space to work with their laptop or tablet.
Distinct amenities, such as Now Rooms (non-bookable and enclosed spaces), a variety of meeting rooms, a mixture of soft seating framed by amazing downtown views, are all used to support each neighbourhood. Community spaces, such as a large cafe on each floor, can be programmed for a variety of functions as the space and furniture is flexible. The cafe is not only for lunch or a coffee; people are encouraged to meet there to discuss projects or work from their wireless device.
Many meeting rooms will have technologies for effective online meetings, increasing collaboration and reducing travel time even more.
- We will have reduced our real estate footprint by 35% by moving to standardized workstations, moving more staff to a single building, and ensuring we have the latest in wireless technologies and cloud-based computing applications. Desk sharing and mobile work strategies will also make a significant contribution.
- We are on target to significantly reduce our environmental footprint by conducting business in a LEED Gold building. Our tenant space is on target to achieve LEED Gold as well, thanks to re-use of some existing City furniture and fixtures and other strategies, ensuring we have the highest-quality environment for staff and citizens.
- A training partnership with AllWest Furniture and Oteenow Employment and Training Society resulted in 10 indigenous people graduating as furniture installers to work in Edmonton Tower, positioning them for future employment in this skilled trades area.