At Jancon we transform workspaces. This fall we decided to transform our very own office to maximize collaboration and connectivity for a safe return to work. We asked Paul Jansen, Jancon President about his approach to redesigning his own office and which new features he’s most excited about.
Q: Why was it important to you to update the Jancon office at this time?
A: Prior to Covid we were getting ready to move our office. We were running out of space, and I had looked at some spaces with the intent to sign a lease right as the pandemic began. Of course, when everyone began to work remotely this was no longer a pressing concern.
In the course of our client work early in the pandemic, we began to study what the new norm was going to look like. We read industry news and began speaking to our customers about what their needs were going to be and how we could best serve our clients in their office renovations. The consensus was that our offices were going to change – with new approaches to areas such as hoteling stations, meeting rooms, and all the requisite technology required to bridge the gap between working from home while maintaining a high level of productivity. This is where we determined the elements of our ReThink Your Office campaign and started to apply them to our own space.
Q: What kinds of upgrades or changes did you make to the office layout and design?
A: We determined a few months into the pandemic that we did in fact have more than enough space in our office, and that it was really just a matter of reworking that space to be more in line with our new realities.
We instituted some new policies such as going paperless and putting in collaborative technology right away to support our team and allow them to continue to do their best work in the hybrid model.
Our team was very open to these changes and gave us a lot of input into what they needed to thrive in both a physical workspace and a work from home situation.
The pandemic made us realize that moves that would have seemed impossible to consider just a few short months ago were in fact possible, and that the team could maintain their high level of performance within the new office realities.
After discussing with the team, we determined that their priorities were to have hoteling stations for when they are in the office, flexible meeting rooms with booking software, and two-way conferencing throughout the office to make communication as seamless as possible on projects. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the staff were in agreement with not having private offices anymore, which we found through our staff surveying process. We also replaced our traditional artwork with custom-created core values throughout as well as milestones and landmark job site photos to really make the space our own.
Additionally, a priority for us was to create an environment in the office that is welcoming and still connected to their home when they are working remotely. We also prioritized a collaborative area which is the largest component to our office renovation. We updated our refreshment area and put in a wine fridge and cappuccino maker, with emphasis on natural light and greenery that reflect our sustainability focus. This is a casual space that is comfortable, yet conducive to discussion and brainstorming. We’ve done some more simple things as well, like bring in some games for mental breaks and we are considering how to supply these same games to the team so that when they work from home there can be simultaneous of competition between the office team and those at home. We have a theme at Jancon of collaboration and teamwork, and this is just one more way we can keep that going in our new office space.
Q: What part of the new office are you looking forward to the most?
A: We’re all very excited about our collaboration area. It has comfortable, spaced-out seating and a screen capable of whiteboard work if it’s required. We’ve also added the ability to stream current messaging, accomplishments and other brand messaging through digital monitors displayed throughout the office. These screens can also be used for video conferencing or creative review as needed.
But the beauty of the space is that it’s an informal place to have a creative meeting, without the pressure of the boardroom or a formal structure and we are looking forward to using the space for out of the box thinking and problem-solving. It’s a space where you can talk to somebody as opposed to necessarily accomplishing something, which is something we’ve all been missing by being out of the office.
In addition to this area, we upgraded our kitchen as well with seating for a comfortable chat or informal meeting – it provides us with yet another multipurpose space to leverage for collaboration when in the office.
Q: What technology solutions have you put in place for the new office?
A: We have focused heavily on Connected Solutions – from multi-person Video Conferencing software that allows groups to seamlessly integrate from home, or from within the office. This allows our team to speak collaboratively as a group on video calls and review data and sales metrics together, as well as liaise with the teams on site for the highest level of communication and productivity.
Additionally,we have implemented a new Virtual Receptionist This allows our receptionist to also work remotely, while creating less traffic in the office and continuing to provide a high level of service to our visiting clients.
In addition to going completely paperless, Jancon has also updated our phone extensions to connect directly with our mobile phones – this removes the majority of landlines from our office and reduces the amount of surfaces we come into contact with.
Q: How will these renovations help your team and your workflow?
A: Creating a safe, comfortable workspace with flexible areas and a focus on collaboration helps our team come into the office with the knowledge that they’ve been heard and that our focus is on their well-being and productivity. We are a tight team, that enjoys working together in the same office so coming into a new space that allows us to be together safely is very exciting for us all.
Essentially, we now have a workspace that gives us the best of both worlds – where people can work from home for a part of the week but also come into the office and benefit from all that the in-person experience has to offer. Really this renovation is an investment in our people, and a way to ensure they all know they haven’t been forgotten and how important each of them is to our operations. It’s certainly not something we heard very often prior to Covid, but I can say it now with certainty –after testing this model for a couple of months, it works!