Case Study: Workplace Strategy for a non-profit organization



A non-profit organization operating in the tourism industry engaged with Aura to evaluate and reconstruct its downtown Vancouver office space that didn’t accurately reflect the company’s role or purpose. 

Upon visiting the clients’ office, we discovered a very traditional design home to cubicles, many private offices, few socialization areas, and little to no window access for all staff to enjoy. We found a complete mismatch when meeting with the clients’ young, diverse, and mostly millennial staff who were ready for a new space and a whole new way of working. Senior staff, on the other hand, had been hesitant to transition to a more open space with the long-standing belief that private spaces were needed to perform focused, efficient, and supervised work. 

This called for our specialties in workplace strategy and change management. We kicked off our engagement with scenario planning to evaluate the pros and cons of the client staying in their existing office space versus relocating to a new building. We dug deeper to quantify exactly how staff used the office, their typical working styles, and how departments functioned together in the space. We helped the client realize that their team could grow by 20% comfortably while staying in their existing space. 

As we moved on to design plans, we involved senior management as well as all levels of staff in the entire design process. We engaged them in a series of workshops followed by hackathons that challenged staff to come up with solutions to some of its most common office challenges. 

Loaded with plenty of data and insight, we moved full speed ahead with an office design that incorporated these solutions and learnings. We successfully reduced the client’s 20 private offices down to only 7, opening up the rest of the space for more access to natural sunlight, the inclusion of a new massive kitchen, a much more inviting reception area, and many more flexible areas for staff to conduct departmental meetings or casually socialize. 

Understanding the client’s role in attracting visitors to the city of Vancouver as a top travel destination, we made it a point to bring the outdoors in to give both staff and visitors a real sense of place on the west coast. Our design includes lots of greenery, warm woods, a living wall, and a thoughtful selection of light fixtures, brick walls, and carpets that mimic iconic Vancouver spots like Gastown. 

Aura is proud to hand over a unique space that reflects the company’s mission as it welcomes a new way of working for many years to come. We take pride in delivering this project on budget and on time, despite the unexpected challenges of the pandemic.