Our mission for Shoppers Drug Mart’s new head office in North York, Ontario was to create a space that celebrated this vision by providing a rich cultural landscape and exploring it through the experiences shared by staff, external visitors and stakeholders alike.
The foundations for design
As a prominent pharmaceutical retailer, Shoppers Drug Mart's mission statement is “to be the leader in helping Canadians discover a healthier outlook on life”. When Shoppers Drug Mart joined the family of Loblaw companies, it was critical that the design philosophies were aligned with Loblaw’s main head office, to enable brand and experiential consistency and familiarity. Many of the key design principles were carried throughout, but adjusted where appropriate to reflect the specific nuances of Shoppers Drug Mart’s own culture and identity. As the premises of Shoppers’ office was located in a regional business park, it was important that elements of nature and tranquility were embedded within the space to truly reflect Shoppers’ vision to help Canadians “discover a healthier outlook on life.“ References to the serene Canadian landscape, importance of access to natural daylight, and strengthening the sense of tranquility in a buzzing workplace environment were all elements that set the design foundation for Shoppers’ unique space.
Celebrating a proud history of health and wellness
Shoppers has been innovating health and wellness services since 1962 and has grown to become a household name across the nation. This legacy is one that continues to be cherished with pride throughout the organisation, and various references have been considered throughout the new workplace, whether through full-size feature walls of historic photos in communal areas, or through a more subtle selection of colour and motifs peppered throughout the design as a constant reminder of the their proud legacy.
A Canopy of focus and respite
One of the biggest shifts in workplace culture for Shoppers was the move from a very traditional cubicle environment to a fully agile open plan workplace. While a series of ongoing change management procedures took place throughout the entire process, we felt it was very important to the culture of Shoppers employees to have an entire floor dedicated to deep focus and respite. The ‘Canopy’, an isolated area at the top of the building accessed by a separate staircase, was proposed as a space embracing all pillars of the “Live Life Well” philosophy, with a focus on wellness and well-being. The Canopy focused on biophilic design and multi-sensory experiences to help employees feel they have a space to escape and recharge. An secluded area proposed with no phones as a rule, employees could retreat to the Canopy to undertake activities ranging from deep individual focus pods, to meditation areas to re-centre the mind and body for greater productivity.
A space for social culture to flourish
The initial workshops and interviews held at the commencement of the project quickly identified a severe lack of variety in spaces to accommodate collaboration and culture. This was something that all departments yearned for, including the senior leadership teams that sought to break down hierarchy and allow the open culture of Shoppers to truly flourish. A rich mix of work settings were provided to enable various levels of collaboration, supported by the latest technology – all of which were underpinned by a central open café lounge on each floor as a place for all teams to come together.