Paulina Rickard, Manager of North America and APAC Facilities at Hootsuite, knew even before the pandemic that the workplace was due for a makeover. Then the pandemic laid bare the truth: It was time to reevaluate what the workplace stands for, how it can be used and why it remains a crucial piece of a business' overall ecosystem.
Paulina enlisted the help of Lisa Bozman, Hootsuite’s Manager of IT Business Engagement, to completely reimagine the office, from layout to technology upgrades.
Lisa’s expertise in implementing cross-functional projects to address business challenges paired well with Paulina’s mission of reinvigorating the workplace. So, together, with Robin, Paulina and Lisa:
- Analyzed office usage and employees’ wishes to return to the office
- Created a more flexible office for hundreds of Vancouver employees
- Developed a blueprint for Hootsuite’s new hybrid workplaces
Let’s look a little closer at the what, why and how.
Efficiently arranging the office, adhering to health & safety standards and maintaining collaboration was a challenge for Paulina. As the facilities leader in charge of several offices, she knew that as the company size grew, so would the “sea of desks.”
“It's not economical nor is it efficient to add a footprint every time your workforce grows,” explains Paulina. “You need to be able to have that flexibility that helps you upsize or downsize or distribute your current workforce.”
Paulina had to manage the desk layout from a spreadsheet. “I couldn't pull it up quickly on my phone. It wasn't interactive, it wasn't current. It became outdated very quickly,” says Paulina.
Furthermore, spatial issues extended beyond where and how to fit more people into the office: managing meeting room scheduling was becoming difficult too.
“We are a meeting-heavy culture, we have daily standups, we're mostly a dev org,” says Paulina. “All these things that we needed to help people support collaboration weren't happening effectively.”
When the pandemic hit and accelerated the need for decisions, Paulina asked Lisa for her support in spearheading a cross-functional project to redefine the office.
Together they evaluated potential technology solutions to enable a hybrid work model. How could they accommodate employee needs, make them feel safe during the pandemic, and promote productivity?
This new workplace vision meant that Paulina and Lisa needed an easy and interactive way for teams to book desks and schedule conference rooms.
Customization and flexibility were top priority, so they could keep up with their staff and the ever changing protocols of COVID-19.
Robin was the right solution for usability, scheduling and overall flexibility. With the Robin platform, Paulina and Lisa could:
- Customize office floor plans
- Implement contact tracing, social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols
- Support desk and conference room scheduling
With Robin in hand, the duo began the process of implementing the new tool, communicating the change and managing the rollout.
Policy changes can cause major friction, and Paulina and Lisa knew that change management was an important piece of the puzzle. If the staff didn’t feel supported and heard during this workplace transition, Paulina’s plans would be unsuccessful.
A smooth transition relied on three things:
Change Champions, otherwise known as designated staff members, volunteered to help test out the Robin product and provide feedback.
“I find what does work really nicely at Hootsuite is engaging our employees as champions,” explains Lisa. “They are able to surface what are going to be those key questions so we can prepare our communications to address all concerns.”
Paulina and Lisa also enlisted the help of drip email campaigns in each location. With the involvement of executives, the pair rolled out learning initiatives and communicated with employees every step of the way.
Finally, Robin’s implementation specialists provided the support needed to keep the project on track.
“The change piece was critical and being supported by the Robin team was a game-changer,” says Paulina.
An added bonus? Robin’s wayfinding capabilities gave employees a chance to see the office via the platform or on office kiosks. These maps can ease anxiety about finding coworkers in a completely new space.
“A lot of people have joined the company since the pandemic and our switch to a distributed workforce model, so that means they have never met their colleagues in person . Many are timid about coming into the new space so easing that feeling is one of our key objectives,” adds Lisa.
Results with Robin
With Robin, Hootsuite’s new office layout promotes collaboration and encourages staff to use the office as a regular resource. Additionally, employees and teams can plan intentional weeks together, and facilities can seamlessly manage the influx of traffic.
Hootsuite continues to grow in size, but now the team has the tools and processes needed to keep up.
Using Robin has helped Hootsuite accomodate 400 new employees, without needing to add office space, saving on real-estate costs with desk hoteling.
Now, Paulina and Lisa are working to implement a similar strategy across their other office locations. Since launching Robin in Vancouver, they’ve successfully rolled out Robin in London, Bucharest, Atlanta and Mexico City, with other locations coming. Robin will be a key feature of each of these offices, a critical next-step in the company’s vision of more equitable and accessible workspaces.
Hootsuite is dedicated to providing their employees with the flexibility they need. Paulina and Lisa both know they don’t live in a static world and meeting employees where they are leads to better employee experience.
“The future post-pandemic is continuing to meet employees where they're at and providing a space that's accessible and inclusive to everybody, from our employees to our customers,” says Paulina. “The technology that supports that, like Robin, is going to be a huge player for these types of things.”
Hootsuite is the global leader in social media management. With approximately 200,000 paid accounts and millions of users, Hootsuite powers social media for brands and organizations around the world, from the smallest businesses to the largest enterprises. Hootsuite's unparalleled expertise in social media management, social insights, employee advocacy, and social customer care empowers organizations to strategically grow their brands, businesses, and customer relationships with social media.