American Express Canada has completed its move to a new state-of-the-art facility in Toronto for 2,200 employees. The new location is incorporating AmEx’s new BlueWork environment, i.e. no traditional cubicles and no assigned desks.
Based on the nature of their roles, the new Toronto space provides many employees with the option to manage their own schedules by balancing work-from-home with the need to be in the office. Utilizing mobile technology and connectivity frees them up from the normal desktop structure. When they are in the office they can book a workspace for the day and can also take their laptops home with them. And the offices have been designed to maximize the opportunities to collaborate with colleagues through the use of informal “huddle” spaces in addition to regular meeting rooms.
Blue Work is AmEx’s term for formal arrangements for flexibility in work space. It is integrated into the company’s human resource policies. Flexibility includes staggered working hours, off-site work areas such as home/virtual office arrangements, shared office space, touch-down space and telecommuting. The corporate focus is on results rather than on hours clocked in the office and face-to-face time.
Blue Work has helped Amex to achieve higher levels of engagement among employees. Internal surveys reported that productivity increased because of reduced commuting time and uninterrupted time in virtual office. Staff who work part-time from home also have more motivation to stay on in the organization, thus helping Amex to retain valuable staff.
This Canadian investment includes a number of subsidized benefits including a cafeteria with a focus on healthy food, a wellness centre and fitness centre with a swimming pool and tennis courts, and a complimentary shuttle bus to subway service. It also includes a Tim Hortons, available exclusively to American Express employees, and an onsite Montessori daycare for the convenience of American Express parents.
AmEx BlueWork is already in practice in many locations around the world, including New York, London and Taiwan.
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