GCcoworking: your office away from office

Working from home can seem like a blissful idea. Am I still in my pyjamas? Does my hair look like a bird’s nest? Do I have wrinkles all over my face from my pillow? No one will ever know. It seems like a great idea until you realize you don’t have an ideal office desk to work at and your kitchen counter isn’t quite cutting it. Not to mention, every time you try to type, your kids, who are little bundles of energy, keep trying to get your attention. Now, picture this… a clean, modern workplace equipped with everything you need to do your work, and best of all, without the usual distractions. I’m talking about not having to deal with Marc two cubicles away chatting up a storm when you’re trying desperately to meet a deadline. What if I told you it was possible to have the bliss of working from home without all the extra blahs?

“Whether you have a conference in Toronto or just want to work closer to home for the day, GCcoworking allows you the choice and freedom to choose where you want to work.”

Let me introduce you to GCcoworking, an alternative workspace for Government of Canada (GC) employees. The project was developed by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and is currently in a pilot phase as they test the spaces in five areas across the National Capital Region. The purpose of these spaces is to allow employees the opportunity to work wherever they feel is best for them. Once a user is granted access to GCcoworking, they are able to visit offices in all locations across the nation. Whether you have a conference in Toronto or just want to work closer to home for the day, GCcoworking allows you the choice and freedom to choose where you want to work. The spaces are supported with co-working professionals (better known as coPros) who are your onsite resource ready to assist you with any questions you may have or help you in getting set up. With a focus on the employee experience, they are revolutionizing the traditional GC office with modern designs, sleek artwork and brighter work stations. By creating flexible, accessible, and open spaces, GC employees can choose a space that caters to their work habits.

Mind = blown

We begin our tour of the GCcoworking space and right off the bat, I’m blown away. Maybe it’s just my fascination with the little things in life, but when our coPro Martin unlocks the door to the office space with a nonchalant scan of his phone, my colleagues and I are left bewildered. “Do it again” we eagerly ask Martin, and so he does. He explains how users of the GCcoworking space have access to an app, which they download on their phone for access to the office. Other than the undeniable “cool” factor, the concept of having your phone unlock a door allows for better security than our traditional ways of opening doors with our work badges. Let’s say we lose our badge one day, someone else could easily pick it up and scan it to unlock secure doors. However, it is much harder for the average person to break into someone’s locked smartphone. Thank you facial recognition, passwords, and touch ID.

Something for everyone

“The space is organized by specific areas, depending on your needs for the day.”

Once the doors unlock to the GCcoworking space, you’re welcomed into a beautiful, accessible, and bright room. The walls are gracefully decorated with artwork from local artists, there are plants throughout, and even the acoustic elements are designed to be a part of the décor. The space is organized by specific areas, depending on your needs for the day. There is a “touchdown area,” meant for employees to pop into quickly to send off an email or do some light work between meetings. There are “focus pods,” which are adorable, cozy, individual capsule-like spaces, perfect for those who need to channel the utmost concentration while finishing up that final report. I can’t forget to mention the gorgeous meeting rooms, equipped with high-end technology for teleconferencing, collaborating, and screen-sharing. Finally, my personal favourite room of the tour is the kitchen, strategically named the “café,” as it is not your average workplace kitchen. The feeling of the overall GCcoworking space really carries over to the kitchen. It’s surrounded by big windows, allowing for a naturally lit room, and the seating and tables are a crisp white. Our guide explains that the goal of creating an enjoyable space here is to encourage people to take a break away from their desks, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

By the end of our tour, it’s clear to me that spaces like this will be impactful to many across the GC, from those who wish to work remotely but don’t have the luxury of an office style setup at home, or simply those who want to break away from their current space and dive into something new. Whatever the reason may be, it’s evident that the GC is dedicated to modernizing the way employees can do their work, by creating an office away from the office.

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