Our own President, Derrick Hanson was featured in The Real Spaces Magazine. Derrick talks about the technological workplace changes that have come about since COVID arose, how companies have shifted, and what the future holds.
- In a couple of sentences, tell us what your business does.
“At Attain, we’re technology consultants that make buildings smarter. We provide strategic counsil on all types of technology (IT, AV, wireless networks, security, etc.) and systems that make workplaces work smarter for everyone, no matter where they happen to be! That counsel takes the form of asking the right questions to the right people. We clarify objectives, and translate them into technology and build requirements. We stay with a project from beginning to end to ensure a smooth and successful delivery. Really, we’re at the intersection of technology and real estate and figuring out how those two verticals align.”
- What trends had you been noticing in the last couple of years as they relate to workplace technology in support of remote and hybrid working models?
“In many locations, the concept of hybrid working was already a thing but the dominant philosophy — at least with the more institutional clients we had here in Ottawa — was to put as many people in a space as possible for two main reasons. First, it meant that less money would be spent on real estate and rent. Second, employee proximity spurs those casual collisions between people that spawn creativity. So pre-COVID, there was flirting with the hybrid model to be able to shrink the amount of space needed while maximizing occupancy with technology being a big part of that.”
- What shifted or changed as a result of COVID-19?
“We’re no longer in test mode now! Everything we had been advocating about hybrid work, successful remote work, and technology being imperative to this effort has now been adopted because of COVID-19. The focus for us is still the user experience of the building but from the perspective of how to make it better than home. How do we duplicate that idiosyncratic and curated experience? What are the cool things that we can offer in a building that will make people want to come back to the workplace? These are the driving questions for Attain.”
- What leadership efforts did you and Attain take during COVID-19?
“The most important aspect of any organization is the culture. When COVID-19 hit, we had already shifted to a remote friendly and flexible work model, so the focus became how we can continue to foster our people-first environment. Basic acknowledgements like family comes before work, having empathy for peoples’ different situations, and employee equity are all parts in this larger conversation. Of course, it was challenging but technology also helps enable flexibility. At the end of the day, we’re trying to create a place where everyone wants to work by getting our people doing more of what they like and in a way that works for them. As a result, there’s been zero turnover here and we are extremely proud that our employees stay with us for their entire career.”
- The phrase “the new normal” is now a popular part of our lexicon — what do you think “the new normal” will be for your industry moving forward?
“The new normal will likely be a hybrid model… and there’ll be apps for that! The breakdown we’re hearing is either a 3:2 or 2:3 ratio of days spent working in-office versus remotely. There will be a lot of rooms that will undergo outfitting for virtual meetings by incorporating high quality sound, TV screens, and even production facilities. New KPIs will also be developed to help manage this hybrid reality to align culture and tech. Organizations will have to marry the preferences of their employees with technology setups that empower them to be productive and collaborative with a trusting go forth and prosper attitude!”