A massive renovation in place that resulted in a progressive office environment that embraces flexibility and links Manulife’s vision and values with a new approach to placemaking.
At Manulife’s Canadian head office in Waterloo, a major shift was ta king place as they looked to modernize five existing floors of office space, while the staff of 2,500 carried on with their daily work. Employing a collaborative, discovery based approach, Figure3 developed a master plan that would propel Manulife from an assigned workstation culture to an activity-based model; inspiring improved internal collaboration and connectivity as well as supporting a balanced and equitable, hybrid work environment.
With clear space functions and intuitive paths of travel, each floor is divided into manageable and navigable neighbourhoods which a balance of active dynamic work zones alongside quiet places to focus and re-energize. In order to break down existing hierarchies and improve access to senior management, glass partitioning was used to allow for improved sightlines. A large conference centre supports internal functions with expandable meeting rooms that can accommodate sizeable groups. A generous café provides ample seating variation for casual work or social gatherings while a health and wellness centre offers a dedicated area for staff to recharge. An extensive outdoor terrace with seating pods and hiking trails provides quick access to the natural landscape. A study in how design and change management can effectively work together Manulife’s new workplace is beautiful, lively, and has been met with incredible enthusiasm from staff. Realizing how transformative the new work experience has proven, it was determined by Manulife this new workplace strategy would serve as the standard for all of Manulife’s facilities moving forward.