Clio, a Vancouver-based software company specializing in tracking and billing services for lawyers, has been on a fast-growth trajectory since its inception, but it wasn’t until the company needed to execute a quick move to accommodate its swelling ranks that it began thinking about creating a more cohesive workplace culture. Working with local firm SSDG Interiors, they quickly built a plan to accommodate the existing staff of 70 (with room for 30 more) and reflect the company’s work hard, play hard culture—all in the space of 15,000 square feet.
“Today, you would never walk in there and even remotely think of a company that works with lawyers,” said Susan Steeves, principal at SSDG Interiors. “It’s really built entirely around their staff—keeping them happy and making it a great place to work.”
SSDG designer Lynn Hugh brought together the idea of your parent’s basement—wood paneling, sofas, game rooms, and chalkboards—with built-in TVs and a state-of-the-art kitchen. By densifying existing furniture to provide varying workstation sizes, all of which are easily adaptable for additional employees, SSDG also cut down on towering panels, bringing in more natural light and highlighting the use of the company’s logo colors in the furniture and light fixtures.
The focal point of the design is a multi-functional lunchroom, which is big enough to hold town hall meetings on-site and inviting enough to encourage collaborative sessions throughout the day. Large chalkboards give developers opportunities to sketch and help ground the space. According to Steeves, employees have fully embraced the additional writing surfaces with personal messages, sketches of their mascot, and perhaps most importantly, reminders about upcoming hockey games.
“We came to SSDG with only rough ideas of what we wanted to see in the space,” said Jack Newton, CEO and founder of Clio. “The unbelievably talented team of designers at SSDG crystalized these rough ideas into a clear vision that I, and the entire team at Clio, fell in love with.”