Suburban work hubs for public servants may turn into extra frequent

Suburban work hubs for public servants may turn into extra frequent

As Ottawa contemplates the way forward for its downtown and the function of federal public service staff in it, the federal authorities may start providing staff extra versatile workspaces within the suburbs.

On web page 213 of the 2022 federal finances, the federal government prompt workforce methods may embrace “extra digital or distant work preparations” going ahead to avoid wasting billions of {dollars} going ahead.

This mindset started earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, as Public Providers and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has been mulling and implementing coworking areas for greater than 4 years.

One such instance is the “GCcoworking” program, which launched in September 2019.

This system “supplies safe websites for staff to entry inside networks, video conferencing tools, boardrooms and different facilities with out having to commute all the best way to their conventional workplace area.”

Worker puts food in microwave in office building
A promotional video from PSPC reveals the format inside certainly one of its GCcoworking areas. (PSPC/Youtube)

This was initially meant for staff whose conventional workspaces have been present process main renovations, however their use has expanded in the previous few years.

Of the 5 websites listed by the federal government within the Nationwide Capital Area, 4 are located outdoors of the core of Ottawa-Gatineau: River Highway close to the Ottawa airport, Legget Drive in Kanata North, Place d’Orleans Purchasing Centre, and boulevard de la Cité in Gatineau, Que.

The opposite is downtown at Laurier Avenue West and O’Connor Road.

Union has considerations

The pinnacle of certainly one of Canada’s main federal public service unions says the GCcoworking program is an efficient idea, however has considerations.

Skilled Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) president Jennifer Carr worries federal departments will use the hubs as justification for requiring staff to return to places of work in individual.

“For those who’re simply asking me to enter a location simply since you need … folks within the office, that does not give good worth,” she stated.

A Authorities of Canada coworking hub is housed inside this business constructing in Ottawa’s Kanata North space. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Carr additionally questions whether or not these workplace areas match the federal government’s objectives of chopping greenhouse fuel emissions from commutes and making certain staff are handled with integrity and respect.

Points such well being and security, accessibility and ergonomics are additionally on Carr’s thoughts relating to these hubs.

Whereas PSPC is accountable for the hubs, they’re accessible to staff of a number of departments who report back to completely different administrators. Carr stated that dangers potential delays when work must be accomplished.

“We need to be sure finger-pointing would not stop a problem from being resolved in a well timed method,” she stated.

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Might assist revitalize downtown, says actual property agent

In accordance with the Ottawa business actual property agency Actual Technique, about half of the workplace area in downtown Ottawa is owned or leased by the federal authorities. Many cubicles and places of work stay empty as staff from a number of departments not often come downtown for work as of late 2022.

Some enterprise homeowners are involved concerning the present lack of public sector workplace staff downtown, however actual property agent Wesley Stinson says there is a flip facet if working from residence or suburban coworking areas continues to be extra frequent.

“I see it as a optimistic change,” stated Stinson. “That is a part of a much bigger development that may see the revitalization of the core.”

WATCH | Hubs for public servants might be a ‘optimistic change’:

Actual property agent says workspace hubs for public servants might be a ‘optimistic change’

Wesley Stinson, an Ottawa business actual property agent, says changing current federal places of work may assist revitalize the downtown core.

An vital aspect of that revitalization, he added, is changing current public service places of work into housing and fewer reliance within the downtown of a single employer.

“There’s going to be a larger range of tenants within the downtown core, by way of the forms of companies, and in addition subsequently within the forms of staff, and I see this as a optimistic impact,” he stated.