FCM’s New Collaboration Centre
FCM’s new Collaboration Centre blazes a trail forward in workplace design with a focus on core values and team centric touches.
BY JENNIFER CROSS
FCM IS THE national voice for more than 2000 municipalities from Canada’s cities and rural communities. So, when it came time to reimagine what role the office plays to their organization, it was critical to them that the space reflect both the team, and the work they do for Canadians. After rigorously interviewing their team, they emerged with a new vision for their future of work, shifting to remote and hybrid, and accordingly a new mission for their headquarters. The resulting FCM Collaboration Centre in downtown Ottawa, is just that. “A place where our staff and members from across Canada can gather, work, and collaborate” says Carole Saab, CEO of Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
“We had a choice, to get back to status quo as quickly as possible, or to lean into the opportunity for transformation and with our people as our north star, design a new workplace that reflects them as whole people, our trust in them, and the positive employee experience we want them to have. This space is part of our total offering. And while we have pivoted to be virtual-first, we have found that our team are gravitating to the space for meetings, collaborative work and learning opportunities, because it works for them – no mandates required,” Ms. Saab shares.
Walking through the Collaboration Centre you will find that every detail was intentional and reflects the team culture. FCM made meaningful decisions to include a multi-faith room and a children’s area (complete with a crib, change table, and rocking chair), and from the mural depicting Canada’s municipalities from coast to coast to coast, to the bike gear hooks – significant thoughtful attention to detail was taken to make this feel like an uplifting, dynamic space for their team. “One of the most validating moments was on the opening day of the new office space when one of our employees brought her child in because daycare was unexpectedly closed that day,” relates Ms. Saab. “So many of us have been there, life happens. She was able to meet and connect with colleagues while her toddler was nearby and told me it felt easier for her to be there and do what she needed to do, than to have stayed home. I won’t forget that powerful reminder that as employers we have that opportunity for impact.”
Building communities and connections happen more dynamically in person. “Just this month, we hosted our 2nd Annual All-Staff Collaboration Week, where nearly 300 FCM staff members gathered to learn from and connect with one another and our mission. Our Collaboration Centre was packed that week. We saw how the intentional flexibility and modular aspects worked for us in real time in very different settings” Ms. Saab adds.
Aligning your teams’ requirements with the vision, mission and value of the organization are critical to how your team feels in the space, and the work they create. Ms. Saab states “We wanted to design a place people wanted to be – not had to be, and while we’re still living into and learning, it seems to be achieving that objective.”