Hootsuite Inc. is emphasizing wellness, inclusion and collaboration with its redesigned Vancouver office, as employees begin their return to the workplace.

In addition to features such as work pods for teams and individuals, the social media marketing and management company has introduced amenities like wellness rooms for nursing mothers or prayer, gender-inclusive washrooms, a fully-accessible floor plan and desks where employees can work from an exercise bike or treadmill.

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Tara Ataya, chief people and diversity officer at Hootsuite, says the redesign has taken place in light of ongoing conversations about how employees view the role of the office post-coronavirus pandemic, as well as mental health and wellness at work. That wellness focus has also led the company to implement programs such as an additional week off for all employees in the summer.

“One of the things we heard consistently is that people weren’t looking to come into the office to do heads-down work — they’re looking to do things that are collaborative and that offer opportunities for connection. The majority of our people were really looking for connectedness while having the ability to work from home and design their own work style.

“We had a roadmap to redesign our office space [pre-pandemic], but the items related to inclusivity came about during the pandemic based on the discussions we were having. . . . There’s more room for collaboration and it’s a more accessible space. It makes it worthwhile coming in.”

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Those conversations also resulted in Hootsuite opting for a hybrid work model in which employees determine their own office hours, says Ataya, noting that 89 per cent of the organization’s Vancouver-based employees — the largest group across the company’s global operations — said they would like to come into the office just one or two days per week.

“We’ve really taken the approach of an employee-led distributed workforce strategy and making sure that when we do design spaces for them to return to work that we’re able to get the best out of them and they feel comfortable.”

The Vancouver office is currently only allowed to hold 15 per cent capacity due to public health guidelines and with news of the Omicron variant spreading around the globe, the company is adjusting its return-to-office plans as needed, says Carol Waldmann, director of global facilities and real estate at Hootsuite. “We’re working diligently to ensure the health and safety of our people and are actively monitoring this new variant. We continue to follow local health restrictions and government regulations to ensure we’re acting on behalf of our employees’ best interests at all times.”

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And while the Vancouver office is the first to be redesigned, Ataya says Hootsuite is considering similar changes at many of its other locations. “We’re looking at each of the spaces that we operate in and how we can make changes. Some are co-working spaces in different regions, but with spaces where we have a lease, we have an opportunity to make sure they’re more inclusive and focused on wellness. There’s a roadmap for our facilities team to look at these spaces one by one.”