Downtown Vancouver technology occupancy insights II (Winter 2022)

illustration of tech workers in commercial real estate spaces

Building on the findings of the previous technology occupancy report, Avison Young has conducted an interview with Madeleine Gray, the Director of Communications at Brace Yourself Games (BYG), a Vancouver-based independent video game developer.

Headshot of Madeleine Gray with logo of Brace Yourself Games Vancouver BC Canada

Why has Brace Yourself Games situated itself in Downtown Vancouver?

Downtown Vancouver is a central location that is easily accessible by public transit. Many of our team live in the downtown area as well.

What is Brace Yourself Games’ current working policy (i.e. hybrid, entirely remote, office)?

Previously, Brace Yourself Games had a 1-3-1 policy where there was the option to work from home on Mondays and Fridays, and people would come into the office Tuesday to Thursday. When COVID happened and we transitioned to a full work-from-home format, it became clear that having the option to work from home positively impacted many members of our team. Now, we function with a completely hybrid policy where folks can choose to come into the office or not any day of the week.

Is there a future for office space within the video game industry?

For sure. The same way that many people enjoy working from home, others enjoy working from the office. It's really a question of preference and means. On a personal level, I love coming into the office whenever I get the chance because I feel more productive, and I enjoy the company of my peers, but my situation is different than someone who has pets or kids to look after, or someone who has to commute a long way to get to the office.

What is your opinion on working-from-home as a workplace arrangement? Do you see hybrid working as the equilibrium way of working in the future for video game companies?

I think working-from-home options are great. The last few years have proven that companies do not need their employees to come into a physical office to get work done. There are also so many talented people around the world and having a work-from-home policy can get you access to a much broader talent pool.

Have you seen a change in competitors’ occupancy trends away from the office?

Many companies know now that if they force their employees to come into the office, there's a good chance they'll lose members of their team to other companies who will let them work from home. It's now about creating an environment that your team will want to come to the office for, which I think BYG does really well at.

Key takeaways

  • Despite the growing number of subleases, Downtown Vancouver remains an important location for technology tenants looking for talented workforces and access to extensive transport infrastructure
  • Small- to medium-sized technology tenants such as BYG value hybrid working and see it as the optimal policy going forward. As a result, there remains a bright future for office space within the video game industry, with greater focus now placed upon creating an office environment that encourages workers come to the office of their own volition
  • It is important to accept nuance within each company; different workers desire different working setups, which implies eliminating either working-from-home or office-based working will not cater to all parties

Technology occupancy update

  • Major technology firms located in Metro Vancouver such as Microsoft, Amazon and Meta have all recently announced they are reducing their workforces. It is unknown if this will lead to a reduction of their office spaces around Greater Vancouver
  • Microsoft is marketing 47,771 sf of its office space for sublease at Pacific Centre, 725 Granville Street
  • Plentyoffish Media ULC is marketing the 16th floor, comprising 16,700sf, of its 30,170 sf office space for sublease at The Stack, 1133 Melville Street
  • SAP is marketing 86,409 sf of its 202,917 sf presence for sublease at Mainland Tech Centre in Yaletown, which will add new class A space to the market
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