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Unilogik Systems welcomes staff to Granville Island
The IT solutions company has opened a new office at the neighbourhood’s entrance, thanks to growth during the pandemic.
Zoom calls with cameras off and microphones muted: these are the rhythms of work all-too-familiar to thousands of remote workers across Vancouver, thanks to the pandemic. Even today, these calls still ring true – but Unilogik Systems, the Vancouver-based IT solutions company, is hoping workers can “be part of something again” with its new office at the entrance to Granville Island.
On Thursday, the business opened its doors at 1505 West 2nd Ave, celebrating with friends, family, clients, and local Vancouver-False Creek MLA, Brenda Bailey.
For Craig Faulkner, president of Unilogik, the new office was an opportunity to cultivate community following a long period of social isolation. Unilogik was fortunate to have experienced growth during the pandemic, doubling in staff size, but “a number of our team members wanted to get outside of their apartment, or wherever it was that they were living,” said Faulkner. The company had outgrown its former office on West Broadway and the construction for the subway line prompted executives to look elsewhere. So when its leasing agent suggested this space, “you know, what sold me was just being close to the [Granville Island Public] Market,” Faulkner said.
With Unilogik now steps away from the bustling arts and culture district, staff are avid consumers of local coffee, bagels, and even meals prepared by chefs-in-training at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, with whom they share a building. “What a great choice of where to locate, close to […] all the wonderful things that you have at Granville Island,” said Brenda Bailey, who represents the neighbourhood at the provincial level as Vancouver-False Creek MLA.
The opening of Unilogik’s office is in stark contrast to trends across Vancouver tech workplaces, where visitor volumes are still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. Commercial real estate firm Avison Young’s Vitality Index reports that foot traffic in Vancouver tech offices is 84.3 percent below pre-pandemic levels, comparing the week of September 26, 2022 to the week of March 2, 2020.
When remote work is often the first and ideal choice for staff, convincing team members to come into the office can be challenging, and company culture can suffer. Bailey, who also serves as Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation, has seen first-hand the challenges that local tech companies face in bringing folks back into the office. “I spoke to a tech company last week that made the demand that all their workers come back, and they accepted a ton of resignations. What [work in tech] is going to look like in the future is a big question.”
With the new Unilogik office, Faulkner is optimistic about the future of the company culture. The new location means that there are more opportunities to feel part of the neighbourhood, rather than simply remaining within the office or working from home. When it comes to one-on-one meetings, for example, Faulkner opts for a walk around Granville Island or along the Seawall. “I'm energized when our team members are energized – I can see it, you know, they’ve got a bit of a lighter step. [The building] is in a good space. It's active, it's vibrant.”
Nonetheless, Unilogik continues to be a hybrid team, with some workers even fully remote from other cities in Canada. But for the moments that workers do decide to come into the office – whether flying in from Toronto or commuting across the Burrard bridge – Unilogik hopes to offer a meaningful space. “I think these days, if you want people to be together, certainly physically, you need to be able to offer something to them,” said Faulkner.
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