CAA Niagara's Grimsby office redesign says goodbye to bulky desks and dark interiors and hello to a refreshed light-filled space that meets the needs of today's employees, customers and technology.
Entire office, including lobby, reception, travel and insurance departments
The entire Grimsby office was getting a major overhaul, including flooring, walls and furniture. The goals were to create a welcoming space for the older clientele and to provide modern, efficient workspaces for employees.
Beatties worked with CAA head office staff to reconfigure the space and choose the furniture, fixtures and flooring. Instead of expensive modular walls, CAA decided to delineate the different uses of the space with drywall covered in a light-coloured brick veneer. Combining half and full walls gave the space both privacy and light.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn't alter the overall plans for the redesign, since the new furniture and layout gave everyone more space, but it did mean plexiglass panels were added to workstations and at the reception counter to keep employees and visitors safer.
The bright, fresh area is a complete 180 from the dark, heavy, outdated "before" look, says Beatties account manager, Jessica Steeves. The custom reception counter and shelving were sourced from furniture manufacturer IOF. IOF is the perfect solution for projects that need custom elements but don't have the budget for custom millwork.
The small, open concept "lobby" area features guest seating from Global. Guest seating at the reception desk and at individual work stations is from Teknion. The innovative carpet pattern gives the impression of a hardwood floor while dampening sound and ensuring traction for visitors and employees during rainy or snowy weather. A bold blue map wall in the travel department helps members imagine all the places their adventures could take them.
The workstations are large without feeling bulky, with space for additional desks if the office expands in the future. "People feel the desks are big but they're half the size of the originals," says Jessica. "There are no power poles-every desk gets its power from a hidden source."
It was Jessica's job to help the folks at CAA head office brainstorm and prioritize ideas, then share the decisions with the Beatties furniture designer. She also oversaw the installation, sorted out any post-installation issues and looked after subsequent orders. "It's my job to take care of everything," Jessica says. "Beatties is a long-standing partner of CAA Niagara. It was important that they were very happy with the end result."
The white chocolate desks from Global have an open square base which makes the desks-and the space overall-feel lighter. The open desks weren't popular with everyone, however. Beatties incorporated staff feedback on-the-fly, adding privacy panels to the front of the desks so female employees could feel comfortable wearing skirts to work.
The Grimsby office was moving into the digital age and minimizing reliance on paper, but it was still important to provide some filing space for hard copy documents, including the maps and travel brochures that are popular with the older clientele at this location.
"CAA Niagara opened their account with Beatties in 1981 and they've only ever purchased furniture from us. Our first CAA office redesign project was the head office in Thorold. They're huge local supporters and everything they purchase, from signage to office supplies to furniture to servicing trucks has to be a local family-owned company."
- JESSICA STEEVES, ACCOUNT MANAGER, BEATTIES
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