The office laid our foundations. In 1960, Oxford was born out of a handshake between two entrepreneurs to develop a single medical office building in Edmonton. As the future of work evolves, we too have evolved to meet our customers’ needs. Today our global workplace portfolio stands at 30 million square feet. From humble beginnings, our growth story has had one central character – our customers.
Customers are at the heart of every decision we make and we pride ourselves on anticipating their needs. To learn more, we sat down with two customers at our Richmond-Adelaide Centre in Toronto’s downtown core. Samantha Scimmi is Chief Operating Officer at Loopstra Nixon LLP, a client-centered law firm, shaping the future of business and public law in Canada. Susie Ibbotson is Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at Slalom a next-generation professional services company creating value at the intersection of business, technology, and humanity. No matter the industry, our teams’ experience and future-focused approach forge deep relationships to deliver the best workspaces that power the best talent. Samantha and Susie share how our partnership is enhancing performance and enriching culture.
Q: Tell us about your journey with Oxford
Susie Ibbotson: We moved into 85 Richmond Street West in early 2020. It was the first time we had enough space to be able to accommodate all our employees. As a heritage building, the exterior is just so charming and a lot of the original architecture has been retained inside. Then you come up to our office and you're like, ‘wow, this is so modern’. We built out our three-floor, 50,500 square foot workplace to encourage collaboration. We're here to serve clients and to do that effectively, we need to have space to come together. We host clients and workshops almost every single day in the office. We're using our space and every opportunity that we have to bring our people together and to remind them we're very much a fiercely human consulting company.
Samantha Scimmi: We opened our downtown office originally at Oxford’s 120 Adelaide Street West and quickly needed additional space. While we were looking at how we could make things work, our Oxford leasing manager Monica suggested moving into a new suite at 130 Adelaide Street West. What started as a move to take over one floor has now become the entire 28th floor, a portion of the 29th floor and a portion of the 33rd floor. Our growth hasn't slowed down and it's great to work with an organization that is supportive and works with us to see how we can leverage different opportunities.
Q: What do you get from your workplace that you don’t get WFH?
SS: We work really hard to create an environment people want to be in every day. The Oxford team at Richmond-Adelaide Centre add to that. They really feel like an extension of our team. The leasing and property teams take time to understand what we’re trying to achieve. The community team organizes events like the puppy photo booth and tree lighting and pay great attention to detail around cultural events like Pride month or Diwali. We love the way that Oxford celebrates and showcases diversity because DEI is important to us too. Thomas at the concierge desk is always smiling; when we put in a 310-MAXX call, Carlos shows up and gets things fixed right away. There is a level of support and consistency you feel through everything the team does.
SI: The staff from the concierge downstairs to our property management team are simply exceptional. They are always greeting everybody. They're always encouraging our employees to participate in Oxford events. There are always these small little touches that just make us feel very welcome and at home.
Q: What role does location play in your workplace strategy?
SI: It was important for us that our office be in the heart of downtown and in the middle of the action. Our people have access to entertainment and amenities. There is easy parking between any of the buildings that are attached to the Richmond-Adelaide Centre and it's also connected to public transportation, whether it's TTC or Union Station, through the PATH. Also I think that Slalom has a food driven culture. Having such a great concourse with so many different dining options is amazing, plus we’re connected to Chefs Hall via our outdoor courtyard. We pop over for quick lunch with coworkers and we also host larger events there.
Chefs Hall at 111 Richmond
Q: How does Oxford support your ESG efforts?
SS: It's been important for us to have our office in a LEED-certified building and we work with the Oxford team on annual ESG reporting. As we redesign offices or do renovations, we're always looking at what we can do in the physical space that helps promote sustainability. As a law firm, we’re being cognizant of the amount of paper we go through. We reduced our carbon footprint substantially when we built the office at 130 Adelaide. For instance, we made the deliberate choice not to install filing cabinets as a way of indicating the practice will be as paperless as possible.
SI: Working towards sustainability is considered by our Spaces team. To further enhance our working environment, indoor plants have been added in all corners of our offices at Richmond-Adelaide Centre. Having plants indoors not only provides numerous positive health effects but also act as natural air filters to improve ventilation performance. The Oxford team also ensures proper garbage and waste disposal and active plastic and electronic recycling programs are in place to help reduce carbon footprint.
Monica Kazmierczak, Director of Office Leasing at Oxford: Our mission is to ensure positive impact extends beyond the four walls of our properties. That's what we have done here at Richmond-Adelaide Centre. This complex is LEED Canada Gold certified, WELL Health-Safety rated, and includes EV charging stations, one of the most spectacular pieces of public art in Toronto, and green outdoor space, but what we’re especially proud of is the community we have been able to create here with customers like Slalom and Loopstra Nixon.
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