G&F Financial Group has reached an important milestone that will shape its working future, and it did so in the face of great odds. Imagine spending countless hours developing a new, open concept workspace that would showcase the future of banking while retaining a nod to its heritage—and then COVID struck. That is why successfully completing the G&F Hub—four floors of a commercial office tower within the Kings Crossing by Cressey development—was an important victory.
Thanks to its continued year over year success, G&F Financial Group outgrew its building at Kingsway in Burnaby.
“As we grew and opened new branches, we began looking for a new space that would house a flagship branch and allow us to bring our partner teams together,” says Bill Kiss, Co-CEO.
“Because retail banking has changed considerably, as we undertook a redesign of the office, we also wanted to change the member and employee experience,” says Jeff Shewfelt, Co-CEO. “For the new branch, that means going from a place built solely for financial transactions to a welcoming space that supports a specific type of interaction with our members.
“For the office, that means our employees see each other more, they collaborate more and build on our culture of inclusivity and collective growth, rather than staying within the bounds of their individual departments.”
G&F partnered with Fusion Projects to ensure the project, located at 7300 Edmonds Street in Burnaby, became a flexible open-concept workplace designed to encourage connections across business lines. Interactions and collision points occur in day-to-day tasks, but measures are also in place to support privacy as required.
“The meeting rooms have glass fronts so natural light comes through and you remain connected with the outside but have privacy,” says Nicholas Boyd, principal and founder of Fusion Projects.
A kitchen and cafe area offers open space with natural light and a large patio where employees can enjoy breaks in the fresh air.
“The wall along the stairwell has inspirational messaging that connects the two floors,” says Boyd. “When people come in, they get a sense of the personality and culture of the organization and it connects them to the G&F brand.”
There is ample space for collaboration, including a bookable community meeting room and shared workspace for visitors in G&F’s Edmonds Branch on the first floor (to be opened late September), and a mezzanine level, which the credit union has reserved for future partnerships. G&F employees work in an open office environment on the third and fourth floors.
“We have so many sites and a lot of employees, many of whom might see each other once a year,” Shewfelt says. “We are bringing in employees from branches across the Lower Mainland to attend training sessions and access a variety of technology, including wireless headsets, laptops, wifi, charging stations, writeable walls, video conferencing and Surface Hubs.”
Working closely with Fusion, G&F Financial Group went through extensive preparations in designing and building this workplace—and then COVID happened. “Yet, we did move several employees in during phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, and they are feeling safe to work here with all the extra space we have,” Kiss says.
“As employees move into new location, each person starts to relax and see how much they missed human interaction,” Shewfelt says. “Also, it’s fun to see the excitement of the people who see how our space is different from a traditional space and understand why we did what we did.”
The project was carried out successfully despite the challenges of COVID, and employees are learning how an open concept office can work for them and support their professional growth, allowing them to thrive in the culture at G&F Financial Group.
Visit G&F Financial Group at https://www.gffg.com/careers
Visit Fusion Projects at http://fusion-projects.com/