Espoon Asunnot is a non-profit company owned by the Finnish city of Espoo. The company is an owner of approximately 280 properties in Espoo and houses circa 30 000 people. The staff of Espoon Asunnot works in premises situated in Leppävaara where the Optimaze Workplace Analysis was conducted in early 2013.
The Workplace Analysis examined the utilization of workstations and conference rooms as well as employees’ current and desired ways of working. A space utilization rate measurement was executed in the premises, and staff preferences were surveyed. Premises’ space and cost savings potential was analyzed and space utilization scenarios were created. At Espoon Asunnot, motives for conducting the analysis were clear.
– As our staff grew, we noticed that we could not find enough space for new workstations although we have plenty of space in square meters. The challenge posed by the inflexibility of our spaces led us to ponder over the effectiveness of our space utilization, tells Jaakko Kammonen, the Real Estate Manager of Espoon Asunnot. – On the other hand, our staff surveys had indicated deficiencies in information sharing and showed that our spaces did not support information sharing. Our employees work in very different tasks and some of them work most of their time from other locations than the office.
A realistic picture of the current situation
Espoon Asunnot wanted to find out the current situation of its work environment and examine its potential for several reasons. The company needed extra space and wanted to improve the flexibility of its spaces. Espoon Asunnot also wanted to find out the different work profiles of its staff and examine the utilization rate of its premises. The employee survey included in Snapshot revealed that the staff of Espoon Asunnot was interested in experimenting with new ways of working and telecommuting for some part of their time.
– We have discussed remote work possibilities for a long time, but the workplace analysis was an extra trigger for the remote work pilot that we recently launched, states Kammonen.
Snapshot also measured the actual utilization rate of Espoon Asunnot’s spaces. The measurement showed that the work environment would benefit especially from conference rooms of different sizes: the staff questionnaire indicated that most of the meetings are held between 2-3 people, although conference rooms are dimensioned for 6-30 people.
Changes in the work environment
Based on the description of the current situation as well as on the suggestions of Rapal’s consultants, Espoon Asunnot conducted a pilot of a work environment change in which employees were able to participate. The employees who moved into a new workspace were able to make changes into the open office plan so that it would best support their work. According to Kammonen, letting employees participate in planning is essential for workers to adapt to new spaces.
– It is different to move into spaces you have been planning than into spaces you are directed to. Although adapting to a novel workspace takes its time, experiences have been mainly positive: workers have found that an open office facilitates especially daily work-related information sharing.
Snapshot found a lot of unused potential from Espoon Asunnot’s premises. By fulfilling all work environment scenarios created in Snapshot, the company could even halve its business premises costs.