A day in the life of an employee at Manulife Financial’s Head Office is anything but business as usual.
Martin Simmons Sweers Architects, together with interior designers Figure 3, led a design and construction team tasked with the major renovation to the Manulife 1980s Canadian head office in Waterloo. The result is a building that offers a more efficient use of space, a stronger connection to the surrounding environment, and a totally new way of working for over 2,700 employees and visitors.
At the start of each day, employees visit a locker area to drop off personal effects and retrieve work items and head to a desk of their choice. That’s right - at this office 70% of employees are not assigned seats. Employees can meet around coffee tables in the ‘pantry' on their floor, set up shop in soft seating areas, head to a study carol or focus room for some quiet space, or work near different teams each day depending on their collaboration needs.
A creative renovation made the cafeteria the ‘town commons’ of the head office community. Different ‘stations’ offer lunch, snack, and after hours dining options, while an improved connection to the outdoors encourages employees to enjoy a break or meal on the outdoor terrace. This leads to pathways around the onsite pond and to city trails. The new landscaping includes ‘pods’ along landscaped walkways to encourage socializing and outdoor working, as desired. An additional multipurpose area provides space for game, movies, and group exercise.