Sun Life’s new headquarters puts focus on digital innovation

Toronto-based Sun Life Financial Inc. has officially unveiled its modern new corporate headquarters, which was designed to reflect the insurer’s “transformation” as it embraces digital innovation.

Sun Life hosted a grand opening of the new office located at 1 York St. in downtown Toronto on Wednesday. The new space is home to more than 2,000 employees, who were previously separated among different buildings in the city.

The office features double the amount of meeting rooms and collaborative work areas compared with the company’s previous offices, according to Dean Connor, president and CEO of Sun Life, who spoke at the grand opening event. He said collaboration is core to the culture at Sun Life.

“Getting all of our employees in the downtown area together in one building enables that kind of collaboration,” Connor said.

Creating a collaborative environment leads to innovation, he added, which is crucial in order for the company to remain competitive and keep up with evolving client expectations.

“We’re competing not just with traditional insurance companies around the world, we’re competing with digital giants, we’re competing with all kinds of businesses around the world,” Connor said. “So, we have to be fast and we have to be innovative.”

The new office includes a floor called the Ignite Studio, which is entirely dedicated to innovation. Inspired in part by the modern offices of Silicon Valley, the floor features open-concept workspaces alongside various meeting rooms and comfortable lounge areas, whiteboard walls for jotting down ideas, a prototype bar for testing new concepts, board games and a Ping-Pong table, and a kitchen where employees can help themselves to snacks.

In attendance at the grand opening was Charles Sousa, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, who noted that investing in such innovative workspaces is key to attracting talent.

“There is fierce competition to attract the best talent from around the world,” Sousa said. “Your new building, 1 York, will certainly go a long way toward achieving that goal.”

Photo copyright: Sun Life