CBRE Group's Van­cou­ver of­fice is the first work­place in B.C. to achieve Well Build­ing Stan­dard cer­ti­fi­ca­tion

BC Business Magazine - - Contents - By Felic­ity Stone

CBRE Group puts em­ployee well­ness first at its Van­cou­ver premises

“There is no el­e­va­tor to suc­cess. You have to take the stairs.” That mes­sage is in­scribed at the base of the stair­case in the Van­cou­ver of­fice of CBRE Group Inc., a global real es­tate ser­vices firm head­quar­tered in Los An­ge­les. En­cour­ag­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is one rea­son the workspace has re­ceived Well Build­ing Stan­dard cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, which mea­sures the ef­fect of of­fice de­sign on em­ploy­ees’ health and well­ness. The In­ter­na­tional Well Build­ing In­sti­tute, based in New York, as­sessed the in­te­rior across seven cat­e­gories: air, wa­ter, nour­ish­ment, light, fit­ness, com­fort and mind. CBRE’S 28,000-square-foot of­fice, which oc­cu­pies four floors in Ox­ford Prop­er­ties Group’s MNP Tower at 1021 West Hast­ings Street, is also the first mul­ti­floor cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in Canada. The Van­cou­ver branch of Chicago-based global ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign firm Perkins+will Inc. de­signed the pro­ject.

Three years ago, with sev­eral leases due to ex­pire across Canada, CBRE be­gan re­think­ing the de­sign of its of­fices. “We know how im­por­tant the work­place is to our em­ploy­ees,” says Ash­ley O’neill, CBRE’S VP, cor­po­rate strat­egy, Canada. “And be­ing real es­tate ad­vis­ers, we wanted to also be a show­case for what’s pos­si­ble for our clients.”

Mov­ing from one floor­plate to four means that all 124 em­ploy­ees now sit near a win­dow. Ev­ery­one from new hires to se­nior ex­ec­u­tives has the same setup: a sit-stand desk with two mon­i­tors on ad­justable arms, a lap­top, a dock­ing sta­tion and a wire­less head­set so they can eas­ily move to other lo­ca­tions. There is car­bon-fil­tered wa­ter within 100 feet of work­sta­tions to en­cour­age bet­ter hy­dra­tion.

Nu­mer­ous sound­proof meet­ing and tele­phone rooms break up the space, which helps with acous­tics in gen­eral as well as re­mov­ing the dis­trac­tion of peo­ple talk­ing. Among more than 100 well­ness fea­tures, CBRE up­graded the ceil­ing tiles to in­crease noise ab­sorp­tion and in­stalled whitenoise diodes through­out the of­fice to dampen back­ground sounds.

“We want to be a lead­ing ad­viser in real es­tate,” O’neill says. “We want to have the best tal­ent and re­tain and at­tract the best teams. It made sense to jump in with two feet.”

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