The ongoing technological revolution is providing new opportunities for businesses to change how they do things. While new companies like Shopify and Casper have disrupted their industries by leveraging innovative products through technology, it is something else altogether for a traditional business to embrace change and stay ahead of the curve.
Founded in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Scotiabank now operates in over 55 countries and holds the title of Canada’s most International Bank. With assets hovering around $850 billion, Scotiabank isn’t about to risk disruption from outside of it’s own industry, and that is what their new space is all about.
Scotiabank’s Digital Factory officially opens today in Toronto’s King East neighborhood. Scotiabank’s digital team has moved into the single 70,000 square foot floor in the former Toronto Sun building with the famed Distillery District and St. Lawrence market just a few blocks away.
The space was designed by Interior Architects with openness and transparency in mind, embracing the best tenets of digital startup culture. These teams are made up of engineers, designers, analytics, marketing, customers experience and operations.
Staff gain entry to the various locations using nothing more than a wave of their hand. Using biometric technology, each employee can simply wave their hand through a sensor to gain access everywhere they need to go – no badge required.
The space accommodates more than 350 people in its six themed ‘neighborhoods’ along the outside of the building. Their corresponding meeting rooms are named after innovators in that space: Napster and Bowie rooms are in the music neighborhood; Lucas and Pixar are in the film neighborhood.
The work spaces have been placed along the outside of the building to maximize natural light and smaller meeting spaces have been integrated into desk areas to encourage collaboration. Nearly every meeting room at the Digital Factory is clad with floor-to-ceiling white boards to ensure ideation is everywhere.
Scotiabank’s biggest footprints are in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia, making communication key. For that reason, each meeting room is outfitted with next-level conferencing technology and the tech team at the Gear Shack ensures all of the digital capabilities in the Digital Factory are running smoothly.
Nicknamed ‘Southside Betty’s’ after the popular neighborhood pub across the street, the Digital Factory’s cafeteria features an in-house chef and kitchen staff. Healthy food options are the primary focus of this kitchen team, so much so that the chef was keen to show off his impressively green produce fridge.
The cashless system is integrated with the biometric system, so just wave your hand to pay for your lunch or afternoon snack. Outside of the cafeteria, several coffee stations dot the office spaces stocked with coffee and Davids Tea.
It is clear that work-life balance is a highly held value in this new office.
The Digital Factory’s quiet zone, aptly named The Plant, is a circular room designed for coding, research, writing, or thinking in a quiet space. Lounge chairs dot the windows overlooking King Street and a Scotiabank branch across the street
Digital Factory staffers enjoy several health & wellness perks with their experience. A health consultant and nutritionist visit the office each week when employees can schedule appointments to establish fitness goals and check-ins. The fitness centre is a spectacular gym located directly inside of the office complete with changing rooms, lockers and showers. Additionally, the well-equipped fitness centre offers morning, noon and evening instructor-led classes.
The concept and design of the new space was nothing short of a collaboration between Interior Architects and Scotiabank’s own teams. Office visitors are greeted by a spaceship-like rotunda which doubles as the central gathering space used for town-hall meetings and community events. The space features a massive curved 4K digital OLED screens–the first of their kind in anywhere in Canada.
Atop the main staircase is a curved wall clad in 11, seven-foot 4K monitors. This Data Wall continually updates with team KPI’s, welcoming messages, celebratory milestones and announcements.
Though this building is designed to bring Scotiabank firmly into the future, the past is not lost. A stylized version of the company’s Coat of Arms is proudly displayed in the lobby. Additionally a massive mural created by Toronto artists Trevor Wheatley and Cosmo Dean covers a central wall, inspired by Scotiabank’s core values and the words and images from employees.
As you walk through the halls of the Digital Factory, it’s easy to forget that this is actually a bank, especially in the team-building area: Ping pong, foosball and air hockey are all here to reduce stress, foster team building and encourage collaboration.
When Scotia took over the Toronto Sun space, one particular room presented a construction challenge. The long, narrow room was fire-proof with reinforced concrete. Otherwise unusable, the space is now a highly-coveted bowling lane.
South Side Betty’s fireplace offers a cozy gathering place for employees, while serving as a nod to the building’s past with walls clad in steel plates which came from the Toronto Sun’s printing room floor.
The Vault has quickly become the favourite spot in the office. Designed as a 1920’s speakeasy, an antique safe door opens to reveal a beautiful bar for the after work celebrations.
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