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Posts Tagged "modern"

25Sep

LoginRadius: The anatomy of a modern Canadian tech office

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Ian Bell of LoginRadius outside the tech firm’s new head office in Vancouver on Sept. 24, 2019.


Arlen Redekop / Postmedia News

At LoginRadius’s Canadian headquarters, there’s a tiki bar with a row of booze bottles on display in a social room; floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Canada Place, Vancouver’s harbour and points east, south and west; and then there’s Leo, a 15-week-old Cane Corso-Bullmastiff cuddling up against a visitor’s legs.

It all adds up to what a burgeoning tech firm hopes is the kind of work environment that will attract the best and brightest in a Canadian tech landscape increasingly crowded by giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.


Leo the dog inside the offices of tech firm LoginRadius in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

LoginRadius, a developer and manager of online customer identity platforms, recently ended its challenge of finding a new and larger office space in Vancouver. The company also has a small branch office in Toronto and several small global satellite offices.

In Vancouver, its 52 staff now work in an 11,000-square-foot space on the eighth and top floor of 815 West Hastings, a building in the downtown financial heart. They moved in just two months ago.

Postmedia recently toured the office and heard from management and staff who helped to distil down a few of the important office elements and amenities they think will attract and keep the best tech workers. (Management says the average age of the staff is younger than 30, and 70 per cent of the staff use a company-provided transit pass to commute to work.)


Sally Maeing and Ajoy Anand enjoy a quick game of foosball inside LoginRadius’s Vancouver offices. The popular (but not overused) tiki bar can be seen in the background.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

Social space

The tour starts in what the staff call the fun area. It’s a spacious room with broad windows facing West Hastings Street below. A couple of video game chairs (without the video games) are set next to the window near a row of pub-style high tables. There’s a foosball set and table tennis nearby. There are a couple couches. The pride and joy clearly is the well-stocked bamboo and thatch tiki bar on display against the western wall.

“Research does say that every couple of hours you (should) move around and interact with other people,” says Ajoy Anand, LoginRadius’s vice-president of finance and operations. “That is how you’re more productive.”

He says they want people to use the fun area to decompress, while it also provides the various departments a place to mingle. “Everybody knows each other,” he says.

Yeah, but is having an open bar a good idea for a workplace?

“We don’t have a lot rules, but I don’t see people taking advantage of the laxness of that,” says Ian Bell, the company’s marketing director, and Leo’s dad.

He says they don’t have to babysit staff or monitor the tiki bar throughout the day.

“If somebody was knockdown drunk at 2:30 in the afternoon, that would be a problem,” he says. “We haven’t had that happen.”

Anand quickly adds that they have two people on staff who are certified to serve alcohol and they often hire professional bartenders for events in the space.


Inside the open-concept offices of LoginRadius in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

Open concept

After the company leased the space, Anand says they removed roughly 15 offices and 30 walls.

They wanted an open concept without cubicles or walled-in offices so staff could discuss work without moving into meeting rooms. Staff work in such close proximity that you can lean over to see your neighbour’s screen.

“(Staff) can communicate to each other,” he says. “It is a team environment. Our teams sit together, whether it’s the sales team or marketing team, so we skip a lot of meetings that way — if it’s a five-minute (discussion).”

The office has a small, typical kitchen in the core of the space.


Ian Bell and Sally Maeing talk with Rakesh Soni (on screen) inside LoginRadius in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

Equal access

“The big difference (from the old office) is this openness and collaborative approach,” said Rakesh Soni, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “People are all sitting together with accessibility to everything. No walls.”

All of the workstations are positioned along the exterior of the space, giving full views and access to the natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The team hasn’t forgone separate offices for the bosses. Three corner offices are reserved for finance, the CTO and CEO. However, the offices are glass-walled and transparent.

There are several small, nondescript “phone booths” located in the centre of the L-shaped main office room. There are also a handful of meeting rooms with screens for video conferencing. Various other screens are set up around the space. One has sports highlights on it, the others show real-time metrics central to LoginRadius’s objectives, including website traffic and sales leads — for everyone’s eyes.

Everyone in the building has access to a pleasant rooftop patio with picnic tables and barbecues and views of the city, although there’s nobody up there at 11:30 a.m. on what turns out to be the first nice day in what feels like weeks.

“We also have lots of places where you can sit and be quiet by yourself,” Bell says. “That is to counteract the downside of the open office, which is if you ever need to sit down and concentrate and write something and not be bothered, you need a place to go.”

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28Feb

Daphne Bramham: First Nations’ solution to a modern, medical crisis

by admin

Ending Canada’s opioid overdose crisis will likely require much more than sophisticated drug therapies. In fact, it might mean following the lead of First Nations health-care providers and transforming how we think about and deliver medical services.

First Nations people are dying of opioid overdoses at three times the rate of the general population. Hidden in that data are Canada’s most-neglected victims — Indigenous women.

Unlike in the general population where men comprise 80 per cent of the victims, Indigenous women are as likely to overdose or die as their brothers, fathers, husbands and sons.

They are eight times more likely to overdose than other women, and five times more likely to die from an overdose.

It’s not really surprising, says Dr. Evan Adams, the First Nations Health Authority’s chief medical health officer. The terrible numbers track other devastating indicators of how their health and longevity diverge from those of other Canadians.

“A lot of First Nations women who have substance-use disorders are exploited women. They are women who are victimized by the sex trade. They’re victimized by their partners,” said Adams, who worked for five years in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside, the epicentre of Canada’s opioid crisis.

What the opioid crisis highlights for him is the endemic problem of the western medical model, where people go passively to doctors’ offices and say, “Heal me.”


Dr. Evan Adams is the Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority.

Jason Payne /

PNG

“Our (First Nations) model is that the doctor gives you a chance to get better. But, you make yourself better,” he said. “It’s your family that does most of the work of helping you get better, not that doctor who you visit for 15 minutes every week, if you’re lucky.”

Unlike in the western model, healing and wellness in the traditional Indigenous way involve mind, body and spirit. For First Nations men and women to achieve wellness, Adams said they require much more than medicine.

“They need healers who can do ceremony. Maybe they need love. They need justice.

“How can a woman recover from opioid use disorder when you won’t let her see her children? It’s disgusting,” he said.

The day Adams and I met, the FNHA offices were being “swept” by a group of elders carrying cedar boughs and candles using traditional ceremonies to restore the spirits of the people who work there.

“Some people would say an elder is less trained in opioids than an addictions physician,” Adams said. “But wouldn’t it be nice to have both?”

It’s not that FNHA rejects modern medicine. It continues to expand access to opioid agonist treatments such as methadone and Suboxone, which quell cravings, making it available at all FNHA nursing stations and at four of the nine FNHA-funded residential treatment centres. FNHA reimburses treatment fees charged by private clinics and has spent $2.4 million in grants to 55 communities for harm-reduction programs.

Yet, for Adams and his staff, drug therapies are only a small part of what he calls harm reduction’s suite of services.


The Crosstown Clinic in downtown Vancouver.

JONATHAN HAYWARD /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

“Harm reduction is not just, ‘Let’s make sure you don’t overdose.’ It’s the whole person that you have to treat, not just this one aspect of the person that is craving opioids.”

To incorporate First Nations wisdom into other programs, FNHA created two peer coordinator jobs at the Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. Its compassion inclusion initiative has engaged another 144 Indigenous people with lived experience across B.C., and its Indigenous wellness team has taught indigenous harm-reduction and wellness programs in 180 communities.

“Opioid use disorder is everyone’s business. It’s yours and it’s mine and it’s everyone around us. It’s not just the domain of physicians with 24 years of training,” he said. “Why can’t Grandma help, or a family member?”

What concerns Adams about the response to the opioid crisis that is heavily grounded in the medical model is that it could widen the gap between his people and mainstream Canadians.

Indigenous people don’t necessarily trust health providers who don’t look like them or where there is no acknowledgment of the historical trauma they have suffered and their unique experiences in the world.

That’s just one more reason why the FHNA, which is unique in Canada, is so adamant that it must transform the way health care is delivered to its people so that they are empowered to help in their own healing within their own circles of trusted friends, family and elders.

This current crisis is rooted in the western medical model. The seeds were sown by an aggressive marketing campaign by Purdue Pharma, which falsely promoted its Oxycodone as being non-addictive. What followed was an epidemic of opioid over-prescription by physicians and other health-care professionals that eventually created a demand for synthetic opioids on the black market.

With so many deaths and no end in sight, this might be the time for all of us to reconsider whether the best responses to this crisis ought to be done within a much broader context of healing and an expanded understanding of what wellness really means.

[email protected]

Twitter: @bramham_daphne


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