North Atrium employee area. Credit: Gerry Kopelow
Beyond energy and sustainable design, but critical to the success of the project, was the goal of creating a highly supportive, comfortable and healthy workplace. This goal promoted the design of a building that provided productive work spaces with efficiencies of systems and quality of workplace environment. Not only efficiencies of area drove the design, rather, the IDT made themselves responsible for the day-to-day well-being of Manitoba Hydro employees by translating a supportive culture through a built environment.
In the former head office, located in the suburbs of Winnipeg, 95% of the employees drove to work alone. In anticipation of the transition, Manitoba Hydro secured a number of parking stalls downtown. At the same time, it created various incentives, including corporate participation in the Transit EcoPass program to encourage employee use of public transit. Six months after moving into the new building, more than 50% of relocated employees are leaving their cars at home. As a result, Manitoba Hydro has been able to reduce its parking spots and has observed a five-fold increase in employee use of public transit compared to the previous year. Qualitatively, employees are reporting that they are enjoying time gained to read and socialize with colleagues.