As remote work became the new norm amid the pandemic, IBM Canada is pivoting its traditional work model by merging four Toronto-based offices into a single flexible workspace in the downtown core.

Located at 16 York, central to Union Station and mass transit, the new larger space has been specifically designed to be open, flexible, and created for collaboration, with a choice of break-out spaces, meeting areas and private booths.

Workplace health and safety considerations have also been a top priority in the design, as the office has also been designed to LEED Platinum and International Well Institute guidelines for environmental and workplace excellence.

The new office will include an AI and hybrid cloud client showcase centre, collaboration spaces for use by both employees and clients, and space for IBM Garage, a globally recognized design approach to innovation and digital transformation.

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The offices merging are currently located on Spadina Avenue, Bloor Street, King Street, and Wellington Street, while the company’s Canadian headquarters will remain in Markham.

IBM Canada says the decision to transition to a hub design was accelerated over the past year when virtual work environments became commonplace.

“We envision a flexible return-to-work model,” said IBM Canada President Claude Guay. “A great deal has changed over the last 15 months, and we have heard from our employees that flexibility between home and office work environments is important to them. Continuing to support that work-life balance for IBMers is a priority for us as a company.”

Guay said he has recognized that how the company interacts with its clients has also changed.

“The past year has shown us that, while not every meeting must happen in person, there are certain situations when being face-to-face is invaluable,” said Guay. “The client showcase centre and collaborative spaces will facilitate even more teamwork and innovation, investments that will deliver additional value for our customers.”

IBM16 York, courtesy of Cadillac Fairview

Mayor John Tory says the new IBM office is exciting news for the city. “Despite the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, this new office is a testament to the strength and attraction of our city’s core," said Tory.

"We know that the opening of new offices like the one by IBM will play a big role in the reopening of our city and the rebuilding of our economy as we look to safely restart our city. Every new office opening helps as we restart our lively and vibrant city.”

The larger space at 16 York is also expected to accommodate some of the new employees who will fill 500 job openings in the Greater Toronto Area -- a portion of the more than 800 open positions in Canada.

The company is currently recruiting people with specific industry-leading technology skills for various business areas, including the IBM Technology unit, IBM Services, IBM Garage, and more. Since January, IBM Canada has filled more than 1,200 roles, including 250 students who will participate in internship programs.

The new office space in 16 York is slated to open to employees in November 2021.