Office & Neighborhood Tour Series is a new feature highlighting some of Montreal’s Startup & Tech scenes’ coolest offices and office vibes.
Recent events have had all of us experience the joys and the challenges of telecommuting. Many entrepreneurs and executives are now asking themselves whether this is the ideal model of the true future of work. Yet, others deem a physical office to be a necessity, considering perhaps adopting the hybrid hot desk model as the optimal compromise. In this series, we tour Montreal in search of some of the most awe-inducing offices. We aim to inspire you as we talk about the beautiful neighborhoods that host these companies, the unique history of some of their buildings, and the office spaces that were carefully crafted to create truly world-class cultures.
When thinking of Montreal entrepreneurial success stories, we often think of the companies who are always in the news, usually on the receiving end of impressive venture capital. We also love featuring the media darlings but we are equally as proud of the tech gems who drive our economy while flying under the radar.
Or rather, I enter Verdant to tour their new office, while sporting a face mask, sanitizing my hands, and keeping the distance from my “tour guide” for the hour. My tour guide is Verdant’s Marketing Director John Attala, who is excited to show me around.
Verdant’s office is tucked away in Ville Saint Laurent, a quiet – mostly residential – neighborhood, which is nonetheless home to many Montreal-born success business stories. Did you know that Ville Saint-Laurent is the second largest employment hub within our metropolitan region, after downtown Montreal?
Verdant is located next to the more modern part of the neighborhood – the picturesque borough of Bois Franc, home to many young professionals and recently arrived families. If you have ever taken a walk though Bois Franc, you were surely enthralled by its many parks with their small ponds inhabited by families of ducks, swimming around and waiting to be fed and photographed.
Back to Verdant.
The company had signed a lease for its brand-new office in Ville Saint Laurent and was planning a big move when the pandemic hit. The management team made a decision to keep both office spaces indefinitely so that employees can have sufficient space to distance and to work safely. Talk about company culture and being considerate of your people!
John and I walk down the hallway and I love the exceptionally high ceilings, the white color, large windows that let in a lot of light, and the funky phone booths to my right.
I learn that Verdant was named a fastest growing company in North America, making Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list in 2019, thanks to a 218% growth in revenue! Their proprietary state-of-the-art energy management solutions can be found in many hotel chains across North America and John proudly shows me a smart thermostat he keeps on the desk of his office:
Why does it say “Emerson” on the coffee tumbler in the back of the picture? Emerson, a global technology and engineering company trading on New York Stock Exchange, acquired Verdant in March of this year. The acquisition was announced mere days before North America was shut down due to the pandemic.
Verdant’s core customers are in the hospitality space, and yet the company remains stable and has avoided layoffs despite the challenging times!
I feel how healthy the company’s culture is through the welcoming smiles of Verdant’s employees. I can even see their smiling faces through the masks most of us are wearing. The office feels warm and friendly, with its predominantly open-concept layout and modern-looking glass offices along the wall.
Color me biased, but I am not sold on the work-from-home model! I believe that it works for some but not for all, and it is energizing to visit beautiful office spaces and to experience (read: feel!) their culture expressed through the layout and the design. I bid adieu to Verdant and am excitedly planning my next office tour, hoping that you will join me on it!