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Home » Industry News » GSK Canada’s Hybrid Working Approach Is Here to Stay

The biopharma company’s new head office design and industry-leading flexible working philosophy signal a new era of choice, collaboration, innovation, and employee well-being.

With the opening of its new, state-of-the-art facility in Mississauga, a city the company has been headquartered in for more than 30 years, GSK Canada’s approach to hybrid working provides employees with the flexibility to choose where, when, and how they work, for increased efficiency and satisfaction.

Determined to create an office that would be a place to connect and thrive, the company placed its employees at the heart of the project and engaged them in every step of the process. Staff members were given the opportunity to share ideas and opinions on work environment types, design and furniture, amenities, and technologies. Sustainability was quickly identified as a top priority for employees and leadership, which resulted in elements such as LED lighting with occupancy timers, water-reducing features, and consolidated waste points throughout the office to encourage conscious waste disposal. In addition, 90% of all furniture was sourced from Canada.

Faris El Refaie hs

“We learned a lot during the pandemic about new ways of working. We also learned from our employees what they want from an office. We know that the office and face-to-face interactions play an important role in accelerating innovation, collaboration, learning, sharing, and celebration,” says Faris El Refaie, President and General Manager of GSK Canada.

Empowering teams

The science-led pharmaceutical company with a history in Canada dating back as far as 1902 is proud of the variety of work environments the new modern space provides its employees. Employees will now be able to pick the environment that best suits their work style, comfort, and needs for the day — from focus rooms supporting quiet concentration to collaborative spaces featuring moveable furniture, as well as ergonomic workstations with stand-up and treadmill desks.

“It’s incredibly satisfying to see our employees’ vision of what a head office should be come to life,” says Faris El Refaie, President and General Manager of GSK Canada. “Our new office provides our colleagues the tools, services, and amenities to perform at their best and collaborate effectively with stakeholders while promoting their well-being. Additionally, we made the appropriate technology investment to empower our teams to have an effective hybrid co-working experience and sense of community.”

A flexible space promoting wellness

“With our Performance with Choice philosophy, GSK’s fully hybrid approach, the office may not be the default work environment for everyone all the time, but it embodies our vision to offer an optimal office environment where everyone can truly feel comfortable, welcomed, and valued,” says Alison Pozzobon, GSK Canada’s Pharma Operations Officer and Head of Communications and Community Partnerships.

Other features of the 100 Milverton Drive head office include multi-faith and wellness rooms, which provide a quiet space that can be used in a multitude of ways — whether for consultation with the on-site nurse, religious and ceremonial purposes, meditation, lactation, or just a peaceful break.

With access to nature and walking trails through the adjacent Saigon Park, employees are encouraged to make time for their physical and mental well-being through workout classes, offered both virtually and on the premises at the new fitness centre.

canada top employer gsk

In 2022, GSK Canada was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers, and Greater Toronto’s Top Employers, another demonstration of the company’s ongoing commitment to individual and collective performance and personal well-being.

The opening of GSK Canada’s new head office comes on the heels of GSK’s unveiling of its revamped branding and new purpose — uniting science, technology, and talent to get ahead of disease together. The global company aims to impact the health of 2.5 billion people over the next 10 years. To achieve the company’s bold ambitions for patients, GSK is committed to being a company where outstanding people can thrive, embodying its culture of being ambitious for patients, accountable for impact, and always doing the right thing.

The new GSK Canada head office offers more than just a place to collaborate. It’s a place where employees can socialize, re-energize, and thrive. Some key features of the space include:

State-of-the-art technology throughout the entire office encourages both in-person and virtual collaboration. To ensure consistency in function across all working styles, GSK employees are being provided access to modern equipment, such as interactive whiteboards, to enable them to brainstorm and collaborate either in-person or virtually, in real time.

Various work environments are available to employees in the office, enabling them to choose the environment that best suits their work style, comfort, and needs for the day, from focus rooms supporting quiet concentration to collaborative spaces featuring moveable furniture, as well as high-class ergonomic workstations with sit/stand and treadmill desks.

A modern, on-site fitness facility and workout classes allow employees to schedule a workout or exercise class during the time of day that works best for their schedule. Virtual classes can be joined by employees choosing to work out remotely.

An assortment of on-site food offerings simplifies life for employees with complimentary quality coffee and made-to-order specialty coffees, an automated fresh-brew tea station, a self-serve micro market with a wide range of healthy grab-and-go options, as well as a personalized meal delivery service.

Multi-faith and wellness rooms provide private, quiet spaces that can be used in a multitude of ways, whether for consultation with the on-site nurse, religious or ceremonial purposes, meditation, lactation, or just a quiet break. 

Accessibility and inclusion features ensure that every GSK employee, regardless of gender, age, faith, or abilities, has a safe space to work and collaborate with colleagues. Accessibility features include braille signage, sit/stand desks, and gender-neutral washrooms, among others.

For a uniquely Canadian experience, each meeting room carries the name of a popular Canadian landmark and 90 percent of all furniture is sourced from Canada.

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