Pictured above: While Canada is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of workplace technology, places like Cisco’s Innovation Centre in Toronto are looking to kickstart the adoption of tech in Canadian workplaces. 

Canadians are known for a laid back and easy going attitude around the world, but has it led to a workplace that is too laid back?

According to a recent study commissioned by Dell and Intel, Canadian workplaces are lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to workplace technology.

According to the survey only 39 per cent of employees expect to be working in a smart office over the next five years. It’s a number much less than their global counterparts, 57 per cent of of which expect the same.

Though lagging in the survey, tackling technology and innovation is something that Canadian business leaders are looking to address.

Leading the Way

Cisco's Canadian HQ in Toronto, Designed by HOK (Photo: HOK)

Cisco’s Canadian HQ in Toronto, Designed by HOK (Photo: HOK)

While most workplaces lag behind, the bustling Canadian tech sector is leading the way when it comes to tech-forward workplaces.  Tech companies in Canada will certainly drive forward workplace innovation as Silicon Valley has driven cutting edge design across the US. And While our own tech companies from Shopify to Influitive continue to push the envelope for tech integration in the workplace, both using smart meeting room booking, for example, other firms need to step up.

Innovation in the workplace can be found in the heart of downtown Toronto at facilities like Cisco’s Innovation Centre. It’s one of just 9 worldwide, and the first of it’s kind in North America. It’s housed at Cisco’s HQ in RBC Waterpark Place III- a LEED C+S platinum certified building on the city’s waterfront, and a testament to technology in the workplace itself.

Other leaders like Accenture have doubled down on workplace technology. Karen Pelletier, lead, Canada business operations and workplace solutions at Accenture notes that “We no longer design technology to fit into our space – we design space to fit around our technology”. Tech like video conferencing has allowed them to reap benefits from an efficiency as well as cost savings standpoint for example.

But until these ideas can be adopted en masses, workers will still likely have to head home to experience the best in technology. The study reported that over a third of Canadian employees (35%) say their home tech is more cutting-edge than work tech. This point of view is even more pronounced for employees of large enterprises (41%).

The Next Wave

As expected, and in line with the rest of the world though – is the push for more technology by millennials. The Dell and Intel study showed that in Canada, it’s new employees that are driving the adoption of technology. Of this group 3 in 4 (75%) agree that workplace technology makes their work responsibilities easier.

Getting the Big Players on Board

Canada’s largest employers are starting to listen to the demands of the leaders of tomorrow.

TD is embedding technology into their meeting and collaborative spaces with new technologies like ChargeSpot’s wireless charging, also featured in Cisco’s innovation labs. CIBC is among the other Canadian banks to use this technology to create tech-enabled spaces that supports their employees.

Scotiabank has created a new tech forward Digital Factory, designed to “Reinvent how banking serves people, starting with Scotiabank’s own customers” to create an environment for top talent to create products to help their bottom line.

It’s not just the banks either. Other more “traditional” firms are moving to adopt a new way of technology forward working. We recently highlighted how Canadian law firms are adopting an open office approach that uses technology and choice to allow users to choose a space that works best for them.

It’s a testament to a wave of change not just limited to start-up cultures but Canadian leaders. It is these leaders, both big and small that are set to lead the next progression of workplace transformation currently underway across the country.