BERMANFALK Hospitality Group Reception Area

Case Study: BERMANFALK Hospitality ...


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

5 Law Office Design Strategies To Maximize Millennial Employee Retention

HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • Thoughtful space reduction can increase collaboration and socialization
  • Third Spaces facilitate casual interaction, collaborative meetings, and relationship building
  • Increase natural light and air quality improve workplace wellbeing and productivity
  • Designing your office to have a low environmental impact to align with employee expectations
  • Use colour psychology to strategically enhance employee positivity
  • Consider biophilic office designs that incorporate more greenery into the office

Continue reading “5 Law Office Design Strategies To Maximize Millennial Employee Retention”

Case Study: Ram Consulting

Vancouver-based design and construction management consulting firm RAM is a highlight of Aura’s portfolio. Their space is a product of client-ready knowledge and creative problem-solving that helped give one of Western Canada’s most important infrastructure-managing firms room to meet its quickly-growing demand. And to get to that point, Aura would need to assist them in solving problems common to businesses undergoing rapid expansion. Here’s how it all happened.

 

The Problem

In taking on increasing amounts of large-scale work, including project and construction management for major Vancouver-area transportation arteries like the South Fraser Perimeter Road, George Massey Tunnel, and Canada Line Metro, RAM found their old office space insufficiently prepared for expansion. And any renovation would need to keep their workers foremost on their list of priorities: RAM’s core values didn’t just include ethical concerns like safety and integrity, they also held to standards of innovative, forward-thinking solutions, environmental sustainability, and a sense of workplace camaraderie and fun that established their business as a beneficial place for its employees. That combination of expanding business and appealing work environment meant they would need to prepare for a new space that comfortably accommodates a workforce that had the potential to grow by double if not more.

 

The Solution

Aura’s team collaborated with RAM to address their specific needs in ways that handled both concerns — rapid expansion and worker-friendly environment — in overlapping ways. Dedicated lounge areas not only added to the office’s footprint but were situated and arranged in ways that would enable easy communication and socialization between members of the staff. The line between traditional meeting rooms and social spaces was erased thanks to the unobtrusive but accessible placement of furnishings like couches and foosball tables. And the wide variety of seating, desks, and tables gave off an uncluttered, versatile sense that work could be done just about anywhere in the office.

 

The Outcome

Aura’s ability to create a bespoke space that paid attention to both form and function benefitted RAM in the long run. With their myriad teams consolidated into the same space, the company’s ability to facilitate freer and wider communication between different groups has bolstered their workplace’s focus on collaborative empowerment. And the lively, attractive decor underscores RAM’s commitment to giving employees a welcoming place to work.

You can see more in Aura’s online portfolio, and contact us to see how we can help your business, too!

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”

Employee Fulfillment & Overhauling Your Space Design

As we move towards the future, individuals want to know that they’re more important than machines and are searching for work that taps into the human experience. So when an employee is searching for such an experience and leaning towards meaningful work, much of what they’re looking for is a space that will not only keep them motivated but make them feel like an individual with a meaningful job that won’t be easily replaced. Thankfully, employee perspectives, scientific support, and bright spots in the space design industry have been studied to improve the employee experience as a whole.

 

Work Evolution & Employee Value

We’re on the brink of a new era in which we are looking for a higher sense of purpose and meaning in our work. With both of these circumstances being a core narrative of our workplace, office space design has tapped into neuroscience and psychology to advance a positive change in the space planning of the future. Automation and artificial intelligence are looking to accelerate the new world of workplaces, so office space design is focused on making employees have a sense of meaning and purpose in their engagement practices.

 

Space Design & Employee Experience

To feel fulfilled at work, one must be in an environment in which our sense of purpose and our intrinsic motivations are being tapped. This feeling can be generated by two main neurochemicals, dopamine, and oxytocin, in which the brain will release to reward behaviours to be valued for our own survival. A brain is a powerful tool and extensive research has proven that brain chemistry will motivate us in several positive ways. When certain chemicals are released throughout the workday, workers will feel more satisfied with what they’re doing. Employees who feel fulfilled are more likely to spend 3+ years with a company than those who don’t feel fulfilled. 

 

Growth, Impact, & Relationships

The three major factors that contribute to a fulfilling work life are:

  • Growth – A challenge in which we overcome.
  • Impact – The act in which a goal is getting results.
  • Relationships – A connection to others and a sense of importance.

With employees having their work-life boundaries increasingly blurred together, employees want to search for opportunities that allow them to pursue and explore what gives them purpose. They want to have meaning in their work, so having an office space design that encourages them to do so is incredibly fulfilling. If an employee can’t feel fulfilled or find purpose in their line of work, it’s likely that they’ll be looking elsewhere. That’s right, some employees would not only look elsewhere for a fulfilling job, but they’d be willing to take less pay for it.

 

Providing Some Structure

Although personalization is difficult to scale and the search for meaning can be a highly personal endeavour, a bit of structure in the office space design and space planning can assist employees on their journey to more fulfilling work life. Having a setup that offers reverse mentorship planning, stretch assignments, innovation labs, rotational opportunities, or rewards for milestone experiences, it helps employees have a meaningful and deeper relationship with their job. By offering space that allows employees to understand the impact they make on the company, they’ll be more excited to help the business grow–and coworkers who experience other’s success will also be more inclined to work hard for the benefit of the company. By building an office environment that lets employees know they’re part of a team, they’ll be more than willing to assist a company in its growth.

 

Space Planning: Don’t Forget Culture!

Culture plays a bigger part in the workspace planning process than one would realize. Between a company’s purpose, strategy, and overall employee experience, evolving the workspace design is important. What’s usually defined as “how things operate at this establishment”, workplace culture can support and reinforcement for employees who are searching for a greater meaning in the work they perform. Although culture is more of a matter of doing (as opposed to saying), businesses looking to evolve their culture must focus on issues such as:

  • Paying attention to behaviour that touches on growth, impact, and relationships.
  • Highlighting leaders to signal and model behaviours to other employees.
  • Tapping into the influencers who energize the surrounding individuals to create a purpose-driven culture.

Businesses that successfully tap into employee sentiment nurture employees that believe fulfillment is possible at their jobs. However, much of what happens after receiving such information relies on you and how you improve on such data with your office space design. By understanding that much of this information is rooted in employees developing/growing, making progress, and having a sense of belonging, businesses can foster that information into their workspace planning.

 

Leaders & Followers

When it comes to modeling and signaling behaviours for a fulfilling experience at work, leaders are incredibly important. They can be powerful allies in the influence of what fulfillment looks like. Pairing a great leader with precision workspace planning, a business can be unstoppable and employees will feel fulfilled at the end of the workday.

In consideration of the information above, there are plenty of ways your company can tap into employee sentiment to overhaul your office space design. If you don’t have such programs put into place yet, these tips are an excellent way to start. For more tips on how your company can achieve maximum effort from your staff, contact Aura Office Environments for more information on how we can help you.

The Economics of Ergonomics: Selecting the Right Office Furniture

Every company has a goal of supporting its workforce. The support comes in the form of paying salary and benefits to employees, giving them office space, and even making sure their specific workspace meets their needs. Ergonomics often get a rush job when talking about office design space planning. You get companies that spend months designing an office, only to make a decision on office furniture in a day or two with minimal research and thought. Great office design is only as good as its furniture.

When you design an office, you need the full vision in mind. You have to understand how the design of the office will flow with furniture, with lighting, storage, etc. Without having the details in-between the book covers, you may end up with an empty space, one that does not fulfill its mission. Aura Office Environments combats that with the design-centric customer journey. Putting ergonomics front of mind can help you increase productivity and make the spend worth every cent.

 

Understanding Ergonomics

To do ergonomics right, you need to understand the concept. Ergonomics is one of the most misunderstood terms in office design space planning. Ergonomics is all about designing or arranging a workspace, inclusive of any system and products necessary, to meet the needs of each individual.

An easy example of poor ergonomics is a chair that does not adjust up or down. If you have a tall or short employee, the lack of adjustment of the chair will harm their comfort level. The chair may work great for one height of a person, but we are all different and unique. You need to think through an ergonomics approach so each employee is comfortable and effective.

 

How They Can Impact the Workplace

Ergonomics has a huge impact on the workplace via a variety of categories. Safety is top of mind, as well as comfort, and productivity. Diving deep into these three areas, you will see right it is pivotal to choose furniture that meets employee needs.

Employees should be safe when they are at work. If you do not have proper furniture for employees, though, safety may be at risk. The adjustable chair example is a prime one where you need that for employees of a variety of heights. You can run into back injuries and a slew of other issues when employees cannot adjust how they sit. If your office space involves some manufacturing and such as well, having segregation from that area with furniture can help to avoid accidents.

  1. Comfort – Every employee wants to work in a different way. You need to have furniture that helps employees be comfortable at work. Having proper desk spaces that allow for sitting and standing is a given. It is when you think outside of the box that you can do awesome things with furniture and ergonomics. Employees may use a combination of quality, comfortable furniture and new technology to drive collaboration at meetings. Having a few couches available for folks to sit back and unwind for a bit can help productivity, engagement from individuals.

No one wants to sit in their cubicle at work for hours on end every day. The employees want variety and they want different types of furniture where they can get a different view every now and then. The role of comfort is all about engagement and productivity and it can work.

  1. Productivity – There is no denying that you can increase productivity in the workplace with ergonomics. The economics of ergonomics title is all about using ergonomics as a way to increase the profitability of the business. How does this work exactly? Take two employees that do the same exact job. The first employee is stuck in a cubicle all day long in a chair they cannot adjust, with one single monitor they work on, in a weather noisy environment. The second employee has options of where they can work, with couches, chairs, their standard cube space. The second employee has two or three monitors available to them at any given time, in a quiet environment more suitable for focus, collaboration, and analysis. Which of the two employees is going to have a more productive day?

Studies showcase the economics of ergonomics as well. According to one such study done, a fast food provider made a decision to resign workstations to include the dimensions of the human body. The height and such were all taken into account. When the fast food provider did this redesign, they found that change drove a 20% increase in productivity. A steel company went through with a redesign of an observation pit. The reduction in waste and increase in productivity led to a savings of $150,000 in the first year alone.

 

Having Flexibility in the Design

There is no one size fits all when it comes to ergonomics. It is all about having a concept in mind when it comes to space planning. You want to have a general idea of the furniture you will choose, knowing that each piece has to encompass flexibility. No employees are of the same size; you do not hire robots! Every individual has their own needs and ergonomics help ensure those needs get met every day.

Ergonomics can help in the profitability space of each business. Having proper space planning can allow for employee positivity, safety, comfort, and engagement to all skyrocket. Work with the team at Aura to go through the space planning, design process. Ensure that furniture is top of mind so that ergonomic goals and associated benefits all get realization.

The Millennial Workplace Blueprint

Office design is crucial to the success of every business. You want a workplace that matches with your employee base. If you have a millennial workplace, which most companies do today, you need to adapt. What is the blueprint for the millennial workplace? How can you be sure you meet their needs? You need to connect with each employee, figure out what they value, and it begins with knowing the make-up of your workforce.

Continue reading “The Millennial Workplace Blueprint”

Why A Strong Office Design Strategy Is Crucial In Building Customer Loyalty

There are many reputable studies out there toting the importance and benefits of strong office design strategies contributing to employee retention. This is thanks to an inflated conversation surrounding the relationship of good environmental design factors playing a role in productivity, creativity, and employee well being the workplace, uniting an aesthetically pleasing space with the ability to perform well within it.

But offices in many professional service sectors like law, consulting, real estate, advertising, etc., are tied directly to the customer experience. We believe the same principle of employee retention can be extended to include office design strategy as a key factor for building customer loyalty.

In this post, we’re examining why a strong office design strategy is crucial in building customer loyalty.

 

Form

It’s 2019 – and the writing is on the wall. Customers and clientele are actively seeking to work with firms and organizations that allow them to recognize an appropriate professional counterpart.

The offices of Apple, Google, and Facebook immediately come to mind for most investigating office design strategy – with Millennial-centric auras, open concept cafes, and collaborative spaces that inspire creativity and chance encounters. While those are admirable and valuable traits – they’re designed for employees – not so much clientele, but this can be extended to customer retention as well. People are primarily visual learners, and when we see something we like, or identify with, it helps us to feel good and confident in our decisions.

Let’s imagine your clients are a youth start up in the real estate sector; say, a budding developer. The youth market has an affinity for eco-efficient and sustainable technologies and actively integrate those styles of technologies and practices into their businesses. Sustainability and creativity are stepping stones to innovation and forward-thinking, two very valuable traits in a collaborating partner. Chances are they won’t be attracted to a dated office space that employs the use of cubicles and a drab paint colour. They’ll be much more receptive and likely to support and continue working with a firm that embraces the aesthetic they identify with as part of their own organizational personality.

More closely investigating the form of your office space is also largely dependant on the footprint of your space. Retention of clientele will always be related to having the physical space needed to accommodate meetings, conferences, video chats, and deliberations – but it’s also about maintaining a space that is sustainable for your needs. There’s little sense in keeping a 3000 square foot office with a 12 person boardroom that sees action 3 or 4 times per year. Instead, maximize your business strategy potential by investigating ways to sustain an attitude based on efficiency and thoughtfulness. Refurbish a large unused space into a collaborative work space for staff, and turn smaller office spaces into private meeting rooms for clients as an alternative to a costly move.

 

Creating Positive Experiences

Dark and serious offices inspire serious experiences, and business in 2019 is less about the dryness of the old school business world and more so about developing a work/life balance that integrates fun, health, and prosperity through experience

2019 is all about experience-driven spaces that embrace the human potential of industrial and corporate spaces, the goals of which are to improve occupant experience while in the space. Space optimizations that are experience-driven are geared at improving the mental and physical wellbeing of people using the space through community-building.

Imagine you’re courting someone you’re attracted to; you’ll go out of your way to maximize your chances of impressing them with a clean apartment, a spotless car, and by taking them to places that spark some excitement. Take them to boring spots, or back to a messy home, and you can expect they’ll tire of that fairly quickly. Customers and clientele are no different. They expect the image of thier partners and favourite establishments to be refreshing, exciting, and innovative in such a way that it beckons them to come back again and again.

Creating these positive experiences doesn’t have to mean a complete office overhaul – it can mean a dedicated revamp of the lobby or waiting room, of your meeting space to invite them in as friends – rather than just customers; make them feel like valued family members, and they’ll seek out ways to maintain the professional relationship between you.

 

Readjust Strategy

We can discuss the aesthetic benefits of adjusting and reimagining physical spaces all day – but there’s one surefire way to address client retention through office strategy, and that’s to adjust your strategy all together.

The #1 reason customers leave a company is because they feel the company doesn’t care about them. Nearly 70% of customers polled say dissatisfaction of care contributes to them leaving. The major difference between companies that experience customer retention and those that don’t? Investment in customer retention strategy, not just customer acquisition. Majority of businesses are so enamored with the prospect of attracting new clientele that they leave old or existing customers by the wayside – despite the fact selling to a repeat customer can be up to 7 times cheaper and easier.

Sometimes, investigating office design strategy is as simple as reimagining how you’re thinking in your current space. Giving your staff a creativity-inspiring space to think is as important as trying to attract new customers.

 

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Customer loyalty and retention is all about providing your customers with a space that speaks to the requirements of their collaborating partners. They need a space that compliments their work ethic, their industry, their age, and their speed. But retention is more than that. It’s all about remembering your current customer base, and dedicating your office strategy to evolving with them as they grow and adapt to the marketplace. Office design strategy isn’t always about paint colours and layout – it’s also about learning more about your customers and how they behave.

Mother Nature is Taking Back the Office

Modern society loves to ignore the fact that human beings are animals. We’re designed to interact and integrate with our environment – and contrary to popular belief, that natural environment isn’t sandwiched between two cubicle walls inhaling sterile air with no view of the outside world.

Humans possess the instinctual need to be immersed in the real world, and without access to it, our behaviors can change. So it’s no surprise employees and some businesses are demanding Mother Nature be integrated back into the office space.  

Continue reading “Mother Nature is Taking Back the Office”