Flexibility is King at Canvas Offices. It means as our clients develop, we have the space and the approach to make their growth journey comfortable and full of possibility. A change of space isn’t just about more desk space. It’s about understanding new needs, new ways of working and what that all means for their physical surroundings. For Jacada Travel, their recent move has proven why choosing Canvas actively supports their expansion as a business. We caught up with Ela Hughes, People and Culture Manager, to talk about the importance of choosing an office provider that shares their ethos.
So, tell us about Jacada Travel?
“Jacada travel is a luxury travel provider with a focus on positive impact. There are 60 people based all around the world with many working fully remotely and around 35 coming in and out of the office. We’re growing constantly which is really exciting and we have people based all over the globe from Bali to Argentina, to Kenya and Edinburgh, so covering all parts of the world. We’re super flexible, so people can come in and out of the office whenever they fancy. We’re seeing that Tuesdays and Thursdays get quite social and busy which is nice. But it’s down to the individual and they can come in whenever they choose.
You’ve been at Jacada for 9 months, did you have any prior perceptions about what a ‘flexible space’ was?
Before I worked at Jacada I was in more of a traditional space. But now that I’ve had a taste of the flexible world it makes a lot more sense. It just creates a much healthier culture for people who work in a flexible office. I am pro flexibility and will always want to be in a flexible working space moving forward.
Do your teams know about our multi-site access in addition to your ‘home’ office?
I think people are really chuffed with their ‘home’ office at the moment. We’re introducing lots of new starters and more of the pre-covid Jacada workers are coming in to work to integrate with the new starters. Being able to use meeting rooms at other locations is really cool though, it’s a huge benefit. You could be having a meeting near Oxford Street and instead of having to commute back to our Old Street office, we’re able to set up a meeting there in another building. We have people based all over London so it’s something I’m going to shout about a lot more.
Do you think the new space is helping people get back into the office?
Yes! One of our key values at Jacada is ‘cultivating connections’ so although it’s important that we do get people into the office, we still manage to maintain really strong connections across the globe. Canvas meeting rooms really support that. For example, later today we have a meditation session which is being run by Alex, the founder, and I know there’s going to be colleagues from Argentina and Kenya who are going to be joining that, so without this space that wouldn’t be possible.
Have you had many interactions with Lianne, our new manager of the East cluster of the collection?
Lianne’s been great. We went out for coffee when she first started, just to get to know more about me and the business which was really lovely. You guys all seem like genuine, caring people. And that really reflects the values we hold at Jacada, so it’s great to see that reciprocity.
We held an event together at Luke Street for Wilderness’ [Jacada Travel’s parent company] rebrand and it was incredible that we could use that space. I think we had about 60 people sitting on the bleachers, and we did a presentation and had drinks and nibbles in the kitchen and communal area. Lianne was very helpful with that. It was great to work with a friendly face. We also have pancake day tomorrow too that Lianne is running. But whatever it is, those cultural moments mean so much to people and I think that we’re really keen to get to know other people in the office. Lianne mentioned summer and Christmas parties which I’m really excited about as well!
What do you think makes that relationship with Canvas work so well?
I think the relationship we have is super communicative. I feel relaxed about asking questions, even if they’re a bit silly! When we moved from unit 1 into unit 4 and 5 at Old Street, that whole move was just seamless because we were communicating on WhatsApp constantly and helping each other out. Lianne was amazing. It was the easiest office move I’ve ever done. Usually I get the ‘fear’ when there’s an office move because it’s such a daunting prospect, but now I think it’s quite easy when you’re doing it with Canvas.
We love seeing companies thrive with us, what’s on the horizon for Jacada Travel?
A big milestone is our 15th anniversary party coming up, we’re calling it ‘March Fiesta’. I mentioned all those people all over the world, they’re coming to London for one week. It’s the biggest event Jacada has ever done, so I’m really excited about that. It’s just going to be a beautiful moment seeing people who’ve worked together for 5 or 10 years that have never actually met in person and they’re going to be meeting and working in the office all week. But looking forward, we’re hiring lots of new exciting talent. We’re also having a hugely positive impact on travel which is really important. We’ll never forget our roots, our visions and our mission, so it’s an exciting time for us.
Next, we’ll be taking unit 9 as we’re expanding which is super exciting. We’re going to put some more desks where the current social area is and move the social area in to one of the big meeting rooms. Then, we’re going to have a new meeting room upstairs. So extra privacy, more space and more desks. Lots of space for new faces.
How did the location impact your decision to move to Canvas Old Street?
Old Street is a creative space, I definitely get that vibe when I step off the tube. It’s great for people who are commuting in from outside of London. We have people based all over the UK so it does offer that extra flexibility and ease to come into the office if they can which is great. Old street is just a cool area.
Do you have any recommendations of any favourite spots around here where you entertain clients or socialise with your team?
We do a pizza night on the first Thursday of every month at the George and Vulture where they do some lush sourdough pizzas, so I’d highly recommend there. Also, ‘Friends of Ours’ is a local café just around the corner which is also lovely.
Did Jacada have an idea of what they wanted from the start, or did you look to Canvas to help collaborate on maximising the potential of the space?
When we moved into Unit 4, it was the natural light that drew us to it. We love plants and they’re all over the office, so we were super happy to move into a bright, organic, creative space. It just feels peaceful and calming which is what you need when you’re at work. I can tell that Lianne really enjoys her job which is great, because when you’re giving out that positive energy the good vibes come back and we’re really grateful for that.
One thing for me that’s important is the wellbeing of the people that work at Jacada. Being in this building, people can come up to the kitchen. They have this extra private room if they need to have a coaching session, it just all fits in to place and works well. This physical office space really supports the wellbeing work that I’m trying to do.
Do you have a third-party come in to lead the meditation sessions?
Alex leads all the sessions. He says it’s changed his life. We usually do it on a Monday at 10:30am or 1:30pm just to try and include the different time zones. It sets the week off in the best way. He’s always very mindful and reminds us not to over work and to avoid burn out. For us, it’s not just important that there’s good life work balance, but also work life separation. We’ve got loads of creative people who work for us so if you want to do a pottery class or do some singing, you take half a day, or a few hours and we support you doing that activity.
You sound ahead of the curve when it comes to wellbeing and looking after your people.
Yes, I think companies are really starting to recognise how important having a people and culture manager is. It’s not an office manager, it’s a job in its own right and I feel very lucky that Jacada have recognised its importance from such and early stage. I love being part of the journey to help people be their best selves. On Friday it was world kindness day, so I asked everyone to write one kind thing about another person and then I shared them with everyone. The feedback I got was just so genuinely heart-warming, it’s those little touches that make a big difference.
If you’re looking for an office space that grows with your business, why not explore our collection today? Book a walk round, meet the Canvas team and discover how we can support your ambitions with our flexible spaces and personalised approach.