Stunning Views, Collaborative Space, and Indoor Trees: Inside CBRE’s New HQ
CBRE has moved into its new Vancouver HQ at MNP Tower, a four-floor space with killer views that represents the first wave in a nationwide workplace transformation program for the real estate services firm.
Here’s B.C. operations executive managing director Norm Taylor basking in the light-infused new digs, a 28k SF space at 35-storey MNP Tower, which opened earlier this year. CBRE’s previous office at 1111 West Georgia St was on a single floor. “It was old, tired and not getting a lot of natural light,” Norm says, noting the new space represents a “fresh start” for his team. He’s loved watching staff gaze out the windows as they walk around the office on hands-free headsets. And younger employees are bringing in their parents for after-hours tours. “They’re proud of where they work and want to show it off.”
The open stairwell that connects CBRE's four office floors, promoting mobility and interaction among its 125 Vancouver employees. Larger landings give co-workers who bump into each other a place to chat on equal ground. Every employee has a sit-stand desk, too, Norm says. “Furniture companies will tell you the buzz phrase now is that 'sitting is the new smoking.'" The office design was developed in collaboration with CBRE staffers, who got to weigh in on all decisions, from tech, to furniture, to artwork. The goal, says Norm, was to "inspire and motivate and make an investment in our people and our culture."
Other highlights of CBRE’s new office include “follow me printing” (staff tap a fob at the printer when they’re ready to pick up the job, avoiding wasted paper and ensuring confidentiality); living trees on each floor; and a café (dubbed RISE, seen above) that’s strategically placed to foster connections across departments. The new Vancouver office is part of the initial phase of a multi-year Canadian workplace transformation for CBRE that will include the opening of another new space in London, ON, and upgrades to three existing Toronto locations (including the national head office) and to offices in Halifax and Montreal.
CBRE's stock-in-trade is counseling clients on how best to optimize office experiences and future-proof their real estate decisions. So the company's workplace transformation strategy is also about walking the walk, notes Norm, who before he managed the B.C. operation was an office leasing broker. “I spent 18 years telling clients not to see office improvements as a line item or a cost, but as an opportunity,” he explains. “Because if you do it right, employees are going to be more productive, more effective, and your company is going to become more profitable.”