SSQ Assurance

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SSQ Assurance was founded in 1944 and is now one of the largest insurance companies in Canada.

The Project

SSQ Assurance was founded in 1944 and is now one of the largest insurance companies in Canada. An improved range of services, volunteer activities and community involvement, promotion of healthy lifestyle habits and organizing sporting events are just a few examples of steps taken every year by the business to support social engagement and sustainable development. 

In this context, it is not surprising that the SSQ Tower in Longueuil, Quebec, designed by BMD Architectes and inaugurated in 2016, incorporates the same values and is LEED® certified to the Gold level. The 12-story building situated at the foot of the Jacques Cartier Bridge offers an open, accessible and bright environment ideal for housing the business’ new offices. The construction of the SSQ Tower, which is part of a major organizational restructuring, fulfills three of the insurance company’s main goals: bringing together all employees in the metropolitan area under one roof, creating new synergy between employees, and completing an interior renovation that is in line with its image. The project is ambitious—300 employees distributed over five floors and more than 95,000 square feet (8826 m²) of space—and reflects a desire for change that is very present at SSQ Assurance. 

“Our goal was to innovate our working environment in order to meet the new needs of our employees,” said France Rodrigue, Vice President, Real Estate, at SSQ Assurance.

The new concept designed by SSQ Assurance and developed in partnership with Mobilier de bureau MBH and Teknion introduces a progressive model where the workstation is no longer the only workspace. In this new model, the majority of employees and managers work in an open-plan office, with the few available closed offices limited to a footprint of 75 square feet (7 m²). The square footage freed up by the reduction in closed office space was used to create several collaborative spaces that afford employees the freedom to work in any of several adaptable workspaces depending on their tasks. The space was designed to meet current and future needs. 

Teknion worked at the forefront of this project, designing 415 workstations and furnishing the collaborative spaces, including the reception area, meeting and event spaces, and dining areas. Partnering with Teknion has given SSQ Assurance a major advantage: getting to enjoy a world-class workspace while stimulating the local economy.

The new concept designed by SSQ Assurance and developed in partnership with Mobilier de bureau MBH and Teknion introduces a progressive model where the workstation is no longer the only workspace.

The Response

Teknion leveraged its expertise, coaching the SSQ Assurance team through a training process that involved visiting projects, showrooms and international trade shows like Chicago’s NeoCon. The availability and quality of the coaching were deciding factors in the choice to hire Teknion. Teknion also custom-designed products to match SSQ Assurance’s design concept.

Custom design and personalization

One unique feature of the project was the development of a new workstation model adapted to the insurance company’s shift in philosophy. Born out of collaboration between SSQ Assurance, Mobilier de bureau MBH and Teknion, the panel-built desk was custom designed to meet the project’s ergonomic, durability and design requirements. SSQ Assurance reaffirmed its confidence in Teknion, with whom it has maintained a business relationship for over 15 years, citing the quality of its service and product line:

“Teknion is a step ahead in terms of the quality of its materials and finishing,” said Danièle Savoie, Construction and Design Project Coordinator at SSQ Assurance. “They are way ahead of the competition when it comes to research and development.”

The workstation features optimized ergonomics and an adjustable worksurface. Teknion’s District was chosen for the workstations for its efficient use of space, minimalist lines and versatility. The new workstations also have a number of features specially designed for SSQ Assurance, like an integrated compact trash can that doesn’t encumber the workspace. The paper trash can was removed, as the business is moving toward a zero-paper policy.

Acoustics and sustainable development

The open-plan workspace brought the project team face to face with issues of noise and privacy. These problems were tackled in a number of ways, such as by adopting a code of conduct regulating employee behavior, which was supported by elements of the design. To regulate noise, the insurance company relied on Teknion’s expertise for recommendations on high-performance acoustic and sound-proofing products. Teknion’s reconfigurable Altos architectural walls were used throughout the office to close off work and meeting spaces. The walls allow light into meeting spaces and considerably reduce construction and renovation costs.

“It was important to us to create a design concept that was eco-friendly and that can easily evolve over time. We wanted to reduce the number of floor-to-ceiling walls in the project and instead opted for reusable, removable partitions,” explained France Rodrigue.

The company’s desire to take eco-friendly steps goes hand-in-hand with the values held by Teknion, which counts sustainable development among its core principles. Because Teknion creates 80 percent of its product in-house, it has greater control over the quality of production processes and creates products that exceed minimum environmental standards.

Versatility

The layout of the collaborative spaces had to be designed to accommodate multiple functions. Teknion responded with modular furnishings adapted to the function of each common area. The lounges, workspaces, informal meeting spaces and break rooms were all outfitted with pieces from the Teknion dna collection and Studio TK, which combine comfort and modular functionality in addition to facilitating access to communications technology. The cafeteria spaces (La Halte and La Bulle) are both furnished with high-back booths from the Fractals collection that create a private space for their occupants. To encourage employee collaboration and communication, Teknion Community Tables were chosen for La Halte and the break rooms (called La Recharge) located on the work floors. The colors and finishes for the furniture were also custom-designed to match SSQ Assurance’s signature style. The different Teknion product lines used in this project demonstrate the company’s ability to provide turnkey service and its talent for adapting to the specific requirements of a project.

By minimizing individual spaces in favor of common spaces, SSQ Assurance is adopting a sustainable and innovative design concept that reflects its corporate philosophy

 

Teknion’s reconfigurable Altos architectural walls were used throughout the office to close off work and meeting spaces. The walls allow light into meeting spaces and considerably reduce construction and renovation costs.

Teknion Community Tables were chosen for La Halte and the break rooms (called La Recharge) located on the work floors.

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