Federal government hops on co-working train with three new Ottawa offices


The federal government has opened three co-working offices across Ottawa with plans for two more in the National Capital Region as the city’s largest employer embraces a global trend towards flexible workspaces.

The feds announced this week that three new federal workplaces in eastern and western parts of the city as well as the downtown core are open for public servant use. Two more offices in Gatineau and Place d’Orleans will be ready by the end of the summer.

The twist on each of the new offices is that they’re specifically set up for co-working. The experiment is part of a two-year pilot project under the GCcoworking brand.

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The offices are open to employees from 14 participating departments and are geared towards anyone who usually works remotely or someone in need of a desk while travelling between meetings. 

The hope is that a more flexible working environment will mean more productive working hours and less time spent stuck in traffic on interprovincial bridges, as one senior government official bemoaned to OBJ in a 2016 interview discussing the failure of the feds’ previous workplace initiatives.

The federal government isn’t the only player in Ottawa real estate shifting towards co-working, with new players such as Spaces setting up shop to attract local tech firms eyeing the downtown office market. These examples echo findings in an Avison Young report released Tuesday, which reported a global shift towards flexible workspaces is taking Canadian cities “by storm.”

Federal government co-working sites in the National Capital Region:

  • L’Esplanade Laurier

  • 335 River Rd.

  • 555 Legget Dr.

  • Place d’Orléans

  • 480 De La Cité Blvd. (Gatineau)

To learn more about how the co-working boom is affecting Ottawa’s commercial real estate market, pick up the September issue of the OBJ newsmagazine, where print editor David Sali will explore the explosion of flexible workplaces in the capital. The September issue will be available on newsstands on Monday, Aug. 26.

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