Case Study: EnWave Corporation


Case Study: EnWave Corporation

The Business

Based in Delta, British Columbia, EnWave is a company with nearly 25 years’ worth of experience developing commercial applications and equipment for the food and pharmaceutical processing industries. Their ability to create engineering and software-based solutions for a multitude of companies, including a quick and efficient vacuum-microwave dehydration technology known as Radiant Energy Dehydration (or REV™), has appealed to multiple companies looking to find healthier, more cost-effective and energy-efficient methods of processing consumables from produce and grains to pills and vaccines, and their business has been steadily expanding as a result. In 2019, they were ranked #5 among the 100 fastest-growing companies in B.C.

The Problem

Though it may have suited their production needs, the space EnWave did business out of wasn’t doing enough to express their brand identity or the values the company adhered to. This made hosting special events for both employees and clients logistically difficult: aside from the design issues that had the potential to leave visitors feeling displaced or inconvenienced, there were space concerns, too. With the majority of their workplace concentrated in a warehouse, using adjoining offices for meetings and other events meant contending with a limited amount of space.

The Solution

Considering EnWave’s goal of establishing a dedicated waiting area, a sizeable boardroom, a number of smaller meeting rooms, and open space — all capable of hosting 14 employees — a major restructuring of the office plan needed to happen. But while the needs were obvious, the budget and the limited amount of space to work with meant Aura needed to plan carefully and creatively. Given those conditions, Aura filled those needs with a distinct style and efficient use of square footage, creating a look that offset contrasting monochromatic modernism with distinct patterning and clean-edged delineations of rooms that used interior windows to create an open feeling. Branding was incorporated with wit and subtlety — individual office spaces featured brand-evoking blue wave designs on the walls — and natural light was accented with eclectic fixtures that ranged from the breakroom’s retro-industrial bulbs to the boardroom’s halo-shaped overhead lighting.

The Outcome

With a more inviting and well-laid-out space, day-to-day business for EnWave was able to accommodate outside interests and client visits without worries of limited space, cramped isolation, or this-could-be-anywhere anonymity. For a company whose work mixed the scientific and the industrial, the new feeling that EnWave’s office gained from Aura’s insights made for a pleasant environment that was comfortably distinct from the mechanical engineering side of the operation.

Learn what else Aura can do for you and your office space! Feel free to contact us, and see what other spaces we’ve brought to life.

Why Your Office Needs a “Third Place”

One particular philosophy in the creation of community-space planning to emerge in the late 20th Century is the idea of the “Third Place.” Where the “first place” is a dedicated home and the “second place” is the workplace, the third place — as defined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg — is a gathering space where social environments encourage community, relaxation, entertainment, edification, and other activities meant to bolster civic interest and contact with broader societal elements. In simpler terms, it’s a place where the concerns and obligations of both work and home are free to be ignored.

With our current mobile and remote-working emphasis on being constantly on-call, the idea of the “Third Place” has become somewhat tenuous, intruded upon by facets of daily life that used to be far easier to cordon off to 9-to-5 hours. But as office planners have discovered in recent years, that upending of place can happen in the workplace as well. Office designs are increasingly incorporating built-in “Third Places” that encourage employee relaxation, community, and healthier work-life balance in a way that can accommodate worker needs and improve both morale and productivity. Here are five reasons office designers should consider incorporating a “Third Place” into the workspace.

Increased productivity: When a worker’s pacing themselves and taking intermittent breaks to relax and recuperate, it’s a net gain to productivity; a burned-out worker is an inefficient worker, often prone to distraction. In offices where breakrooms are spartan and uninviting, employees often stay at their desks to have lunch or take some downtime, which further blurs the work/relaxation balance and can make burnout set in more easily. Having a dedicated space (or several!) with appealing, comfortable accommodations can encourage workers to take time away from their desks, leaving them more refreshed and without the rut of being in the same spot most of the workday.

Less stress: Though this goes hand-in-hand with the benefits of increased productivity, Third Places also offer more holistically inviting and comforting spaces where workers can take a retreat from the frustrations of the workday. In that sense, a spot that seems less like a traditional extension of the workplace and more like a small-scale retreat can work wonders by temporarily separating stressed-out workers from the source of their anxiety.

More spontaneous creativity: One of the most common ways of describing an effort to break out of a rut is calling it a “change of scenery” — so why not offer that option in its most literal sense? Aside from staving off burnout, offering a dedicated Third Place where the pressure of work is pushed to the background can let flashes of inspiration arrive unexpectedly, or give the creative mind some much-needed downtime to recharge. A different environment — in sound, light, decor, furnishings, and overall mood — can be a catalyst for entirely new perspectives.

Collaborative sociability: Spaces like breakrooms have traditionally provided opportunities to socialize, while meeting rooms are more cordoned-off spaces dedicated to presentations and collaborative work. A “Third Place” space can split the difference between the two: a relaxed environment where workers can socialize while also providing the potential — but not necessarily the pressure — to exchange ideas and brainstorm.

A home away from home: It’s no coincidence that many people who work remotely often choose cafes and coffee shops to do so: these places are designed to offer customers an environment that they’ll want to stay in and return to, as well as providing a public space that feels like a place where work can be done. Providing a space in your workplace that fills a similar role — a place where the option is there to work, relax, read, study, or meditate — creates a feeling of independence and freedom that can feel more like working from home or a neighbourhood cafe than a traditional workplace can allow.

Aura is proud to provide as much inspiration as your office needs require. Feel free to contact us for more info.

Case Study: BERMANFALK Hospitality Group

Vancouver-based BERMANFALK has been providing furnishings to the hospitality industry throughout the world since 2007. In that span of time — relatively short in memory, but a long stretch for a growing business — BERMANFALK grew rapidly, with their design-first approach earning their seating and casegoods products a strong reputation and a growing footprint in the hotelier and interior design worlds. While their committment to a Canadian sense of quality products and efficient service was well-maintained, the rate of their growth led to an inevitability: how do they redesign their office and make it more efficiently attuned to the needs of an expanding business?

The Problem

For BERMANFALK, their needs were clear: their workforce was growing, and that meant a need for more coordinated teamwork in a larger operation. Due to the collaborative nature of the workplace, the idea was to gravitate towards an open space, one that encouraged and inspired a free exchange of ideas. But there was still a need to allow individual employees their own spaces, autonomy, and privacy, which open-plan offices aren’t always designed to accommodate.

The Solution

Partnering with Aura gave BERMANFALK many options to choose from in expanding and redefining their space. For their new office, located in a former industrial space, the openness of the space was emphasized with soft white walls and ceiling, letting the contrasting abstract/organic patterning of the carpeting reflect the shadows and light given off by the structure of the ceiling’s bare ductwork and girders. This lent the open space of the floorplan a bright uniformity, while other more delineated spaces — including individual cubicles, cabinetry, and window frames of conference rooms — were highlighted with darker slate tones. And in keeping with BERMANFALK’s reputation for design, furnishings were given a timeless modernity, mid-Century designs standing out distinctly while still maintaining a comfortable minimalism.

The Outcome

With Aura’s open space plan, BERMANFALK’s managers were able to get a clear, easy overview of operations as the size of their business expanded. Meanwhile, the visual impact of their space was directly in keeping with their stylistic philosophy, post-industrial chic highlighting a simple but versatile approach to creating a harmonic interior space. In short, Aura served as the interior designer that interior design experts trusted.

Learn what else Aura can do for you and your office space! Contact us, and see what other spaces we’ve brought to life.

Aura Office Environments Hosts Successful Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn Event

Tenant Talks is a complimentary event series featuring expert insights driving Vancouver’s modern workplace.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – October 15, 2019 – Aura Office Environments (“Aura”) proudly hosted its first-ever Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn at Spaces in Gastown on Wednesday, October 9th.  Themed around Remote Work and the Modern Office, the event featured a panel of top-tier industry experts, including NoW of Work Founder Rocky Ozaki, Visier Senior HR Business Partner Angie Ng, Quietly Head of People & Places Kraig Doherty and Aura Operational Development Manager Kristina Kovacevic. Together, they spurred a multitude of ideas and brought forth their vision for how remote work will affect office planning and employee dynamics in the long-term. 

 

Here are some of the event’s key takeaways:

  • Remote working is here to stay. Studies have shown that the benefits of remote work apply to employees and businesses alike. Given the opportunity to work remotely, an astounding 77% of workers stated they were more productive working remotely, with 30% of remote workers stated they accomplished more work in less time than working in the office. Normalizing remote work is increasingly beneficial, and the key to this is putting trust in your staff.

  • Office design, tech, and remote work are all integral to each other. Video teleconferencing is an accessible technology that can be accommodated by dedicated design plans, such as “zoom rooms” that feature large-screen displays for long-distance “face to face” interactions. Smaller meeting spaces and private spaces for smartphone usage — an update of the traditional “phone booth” — are also helpful, as are dedicated hotel desk and “hotdesk” setups for workers on the go.

  • Adopting remote work policies is easy and beneficial. Test the waters by giving workers the option of working remotely once a week. Budget for activities that will help remote staff build interpersonal work relationships, such as flying them to in-person events and having stipends to help cover their coworking expenses. Create working-hour expectations where people are expected to be “on-call” during particular times to set some needed parameters for self-directed workers. And, focus primarily on how people work rather than where.

  • Reward flexibility with benefits. One of the primary challenges of remote work is instilling a sense of community and social contact among workers who might otherwise feel detached from the organization. In-person social events and fun online group chats and Slack channels are two solutions businesses can offer.

 

Aura plans to host Tenant Talks on a quarterly basis at varying venues throughout Vancouver. Sign up to the mailing list to stay in the loop!

 

About Tenant Talks

Tenant Talks is a complimentary Lunch & Learn Speaker Series featuring industry experts and community leaders sharing their expertise, knowledge and valuable tips on workplace trends impacting Vancouver companies. Gain key insights over a catered lunch into office design and workplace culture best practices.

 

About Aura Office Environments

Tenant Talks is brought to you by Aura Office Environments, an innovative design-build company focused on creating experiential office environments that celebrate and enhance your distinct company culture. Founded in 1976 by the Boram family, Aura has evolved into a complete turnkey solution provider, offering a wide range of services including workspace planning, location selection, interior office design and construction management.

 

Contact Information:

Craig Boram  

Marketing Director

Phone: +1 (604) 510-7101

Email: craigb@auraoffice.ca

Too Hot, Too Cold! Choosing The Right Temperature For Your Office

The thermostat can be a topic of heated debate in some workplaces. People are surprisingly passionate about the temperature of their office environment.

Well, it turns out there may be more to these debates than what meets the eye.

Research suggests there’s a relationship between temperature and employee well-being and productivity. Psychologists from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University conducted a study wherein participants performed cognitively demanding tasks in rooms of different temperatures. They found that warm discomfort (i.e. being too hot) negatively affected participants’ sense of well-being whereas moderate discomfort of any kind (i.e. either too hot or cold) made it more challenging for participants to complete tasks.

Evidently, it is important that office temperature is taken into consideration to ensure employee well-being and productivity are optimal. However, this may be easier said than done. Closed-concept office environments have an advantage as each individual can adjust the thermostat according to their own preferences. It can get more complicated for open-concept offices where everyone is subject to the same temperature, despite individual preferences.

So, what can employers do to improve temperature conditions in their office environments for the betterment of their employees? Here are some ideas for those looking to cool down the thermostat debate once and for all.

 

Continue reading “Too Hot, Too Cold! Choosing The Right Temperature For Your Office”

Aura Office Environments Announces Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn Speaker Series

Tenant Talks is a complimentary event series featuring expert insights on office design and workplace culture best practices for companies located in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – September 4, 2019 — Aura Office Environments (“Aura”) is pleased to announce the launch of its very first Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn at Spaces in Gastown on Wednesday, October 9th at 12:00 pm. The theme will be centred on Remote Work, a trend that is becoming increasingly widespread throughout various industries as more people enjoy the flexibility it offers. Industry experts and community leaders from leading companies like Quietly, Visier, and the NoW of Work Inc. will share insights on the current and future trends of remote work and consider how the modern workplace can embrace it.

Designing an office should account for more than just budget, practicality, and aesthetics: there’s also a psychological angle to take into account, too,” explained Dan Boram, president and CEO of Aura. “Businesses both small and large have grown to understand that an environmental effect on employees’ psyches — from basic day-to-day moods to socialization patterns and engagement with company goals — can be affected and directed by the way an office space is built, arranged, and decorated. It’s an idea that’s already been put into use for more specialized environments like hospitals and schools, but the workplace — the most common home-away-from-home most people will ever know — has its own needs when it comes to influencing moods and instilling a sense of humanity.

If you’re interested to learn from industry thought leaders, connect with like-minded professionals, and experience innovative VR technology, Aura invites you to *RSVP your attendance. In addition, join the conversation online to ask questions, mingle with other attendees, and stay updated on future Tenant Talks.

*must RSVP to be admitted to the event

About The Speakers

Rocky Ozaki, Founder, NoW of Work – Moderator

Rocky is one of Canada’s most passionate evangelists on the Future of Work who believes that technology, a sharing economy and the connected generation have dramatically changed the way companies attract, engage and retain their people. Companies that fail to embrace this reality will find themselves disrupted or made redundant by an increasingly innovative and agile economy. Rocky couples 10-years of executive HR and operations leadership in large enterprise organizations, with 5-years of startup tech experience. He held the role of Vice-President and Head of Corporate Innovation for the BC Tech Association before co-founding the NoW of Work Inc. – a firm that helps organizations future-proof their business through culture transformation and innovative mindsets, and the NoW-Academy – a bootcamp that inspires and empowers people to leverage modern Operational and People practices. 

 

 

 

Angie Ng, Senior HR Business Partner, Visier – Panelist

Angie is the Senior HR Business Partner at Visier. Currently in her role, she partners with senior leaders and executives across Canada, U.S. and EMEA with remote employees across all three regions. Angie’s HR and talent acquisition  experience spans across multiple industries with companies including O2E Brands and Best Buy.

 

 

 

 

Kraig Doherty, Head of People & Places, Quietly – Panelist

Kraig brings 20-years experience growing and scaling tech & creative companies such as Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Indochino, Invoke and Eventbase. He is the Head of People & Places at Quietly, a full-service content marketing agency in Gastown that works with the likes of MEC, Slack, Herschel and Goldman Sachs on content strategy and execution. Over the course of his career, he has had the opportunity to recruit and hire over 1000 professionals from around the world. His experience spans human resources, culture building, recruiting and talent acquisition, employment branding, office design and construction and community building.

About Tenant Talks

Tenant Talks is a complimentary Lunch & Learn Speaker Series featuring industry experts and community leaders sharing their expertise, knowledge and valuable tips on workplace trends impacting Vancouver companies. Gain key insights over a catered lunch into office design and workplace culture best practices.

About Aura Office Environments

Tenant Talks is presented by Aura Office Environments, an innovative design-build company focused on creating experiential office environments that celebrate and enhance your distinct company culture. Founded in 1976 by the Boram family, Aura has evolved into a complete turnkey solution provider, offering a wide range of services including workspace planning, location selection, interior office design and construction management.

Contact Information:

Craig Boram      

Marketing Director

Phone: +1 (604) 510-7101

Email: craigb@auraoffice.ca

Register Now:

7 Ways to De-Stress on National Relaxation Day

Whether or not your work culture operates on an all-or-nothing binary of grinding and slacking, the idea of using relaxation techniques to improve the workplace might feel like a surprising, even revolutionary shift. But it’s not that complicated: even when some employees claim to work well under pressure, the need to offer and accommodate stress-reducing exercises and activities can benefit productivity as well as worker wellbeing. In honour of National Relaxation Day, here are seven simple ways employees can add some much-needed calm to their work hours.

  1. Have lunch with colleagues. Having some face-to-face time with coworkers in a more casual setting will help maintain social connections, help you collect your thoughts, and get a few distractions off your mind.
  2. Meditate. If you need a breather, why not take the term literally? Take five somewhere quiet and calming and do some deep-breathing exercises so your mental clutter can reset. Your physical state will settle down enough to help you through more of your day, too.
  3. Go for a walk. Outside is best, weather permitting; the fresh air will, as the saying goes, do you some good. But even rainy days shouldn’t stop you from stretching your legs: even indoors, breaking out of your usual space can help reboot your mood.
  4. Exercise. Walking is a good start, but it’s not just the change of scenery that helps: it should also motivate the circulation and work off some tense energy as well. It can help to take a few minutes to move around, and you don’t even have to keep things too strenuous.
  5. Stretch. Every so often — a half-hour is good — you should take a moment to pay attention to your posture, limber up a bit, and work your joints. No matter your age, you should be able to get a much-needed dose of calming physical stimulus by giving your muscles a bit of a stretch, even a slow, low-impact one.
  6. Disconnect. Whether it’s social media skirmishes or a tense true-crime podcast, some of the things we use as entertaining distractions can also work up stressors that get in the way of both productivity and mental well-being. Unplug from those distractions when you can.
  7. Declutter. Ever notice the therapeutic feeling that comes from tossing out a bunch of junk-drawer miscellany you had building up, or the strange satisfaction of getting some scattered books and papers organized? Getting rid of clutter and tidying up your workspace can have a collateral effect on your mind.

 

From standing desks to fitness centers, workspaces themselves can also help contribute to a low-stress work environment. Aura can provide design solutions that will promote an employee-centric strategy for your office space — feel free to get in touch for more information.