Inside AOL Canada’s airy office, where a boardroom doubles as a yoga studio
WHAT: The Toronto offices of AOL Canada
WHERE: The second, third and sixth floor at 99 Spadina Avenue
HOW BIG: 20,383 square feet for 137 employees
Roughly three years ago, AOL Canada ditched their fusty Toronto digs at Yonge and St. Clair for a downtown office with exposed brick interiors, nap rooms, a balcony with a barbecue and a boardroom that doubles as a yoga studio. The three-floor office was designed by architecture firm HOK to be, above all things, super comfy.
AOL Canada’s main floor (the second floor of the building) is home to Huffington Post Canada. No one—not even AOL Canada managing director Brad Cressman—has their own private office, but staffers are encouraged to personalize their workspaces. Employees also have access standing Varidesks if they want flexibility with their desk and posture.
A visual staff directory greets guests in reception. Next to it is a wall dedicated to fun photos of employees. Right now, it’s a collection of shots of staff taken at various charities around the city for Monster Help Day, AOL’s company-wide volunteer day off. In the past, it’s been used as the “Wall of Same,” featuring snaps of employees accidentally wearing the same pieces of clothing into the office:
In the middle of the floor is a boardroom that seats 16 for meetings. The space also doubles as a weekly yoga studio on Wednesdays, a meditation space on Thursdays and the occasional dance floor for office parties (the furniture is fully collapsible):
Here’s another view of the space, when it’s converted to accommodate a (very on-brand) yoga class:
HOK put a staircase in the middle of the room to connect the media and sales teams, who sit on different floors but which work closely together, so they don’t have to rely on the elevator:
For breaks, a miniature library tucked underneath the stairs uses the take-a-copy, leave-a-copy system. There’s also a staff Xbox nearby, as well as a few board games:
The staff kitchen on the third floor has breakfast cereals, Pop Tarts, oatmeal and granola bars so staff can start their days well-fed. A beer cart is pushed around the office on Fridays, often by a new employee (handing out free brews helps with introductions):
A mailbox mounted to a beam by the kitchen for employees to ask Cressman anonymous questions—no topic is off the table—which he addresses in a weekly newsletter. One employee recently requested better toilet paper in staff bathrooms:
A bell next to the mailbox is rung whenever a sales employee finalizes a big deal:
The sixth floor has another boardroom space, with 10 seats and plenty of natural lighting. It’s also home to the AOL Swag Store:
Employees are free to use the top floor balcony space to work out, or enjoy a drink and take in the view of Oxley Street: