Employee involvement takes the results of an office move project to a new level
Modern and functional premises support business and drive the company forward. The premises project is important for the organisation strategically and in terms of employee well-being. The recipe for a successful premises renewal project is careful planning, adequate time allocation and strong employee involvement.
Sponda moved to new premises at the beginning of August, but the renewal project started a year and a half ago. The design of the massive project started with mapping and identifying the needs of the business operation. The project also looked far into the future. The existing premises were transformed into an office suitable for working in the world of tomorrow while also respecting the old. The new modifiable premises will serve Sponda’s needs for a long time to come.
‘When carrying out a premises project, it is worth looking forward so that possible future updates can be taken into account in the planning phase,’ says Joni Mikkolainen, Sponda’s Project Manager.
According to Mikkolainen, the design of a business premises that supports the needs of modern work and the company’s business cannot be achieved without the strong involvement of the employees who are familiar with the business and the company’s day-to-day operations.
The best result is achieved when a comprehensive representation of employees from different teams and functions, as well as people doing different kinds of work, is included in the design.
‘Initially, we had internal discussions between representatives of all units about the needs of their operations and their employees. We also analysed changes in working methods and reflected all this in Sponda’s values and strategy. Our values include continuous learning and shared success, and our strategy emphasises the creation of an inspiring corporate culture. In order for the new premises to genuinely serve the company, employees and their needs, the businesses must be involved with designing the premises,’ says Mikkolainen.
Involving staff in the project improves the end result
Each organisation has its own strategy, values and characteristics. Good premises reflect the values of the company and support the work of the employees. Right at the beginning of the project, it is worth thinking about when to involve the employees, and means of involvement are suitable for different employees.
‘It is a good idea to start employee involvement at an early stage and keep the employees involved throughout the project. The biggest benefit of involving the employees is that the premises become functional and attractive from the employee’s point of view when they see their own handprint in the end result. Our strategy emphasises collaboration and innovation, and we believe that thanks to an attractive and functional office, people will work more together face to face,” says Marcus Reijonen, Sponda’s HR Director.
The best result is achieved when a comprehensive representation of employees from different teams and functions, as well as people doing different kinds of work, is included in the design. For example, the work of salespeople is often more mobile, while accounting usually has clear office hours and a fixed place of work. In Sponda’s facility project, employees were involved in several ways. Throughout the project, the company organised brainstorming hackathons, supported by employee surveys and periodic situation reports.
‘The internal communication related to the facility project should be planned carefully in advance and information should be repeated patiently,” explains Mikkolainen.
‘The benefit of employee involvement and successful internal communication is that managing the change will be much smoother and clearer. Any concerns can be addressed at an early stage,’ adds Reijonen.
Internal communication is perhaps the most important single thing in a facility project.
Functional premises support business and employee well-being
Sponda’s new premises take different needs into account. The office has quiet spaces, meeting areas, collaborative spaces, and areas dedicated exclusively to relaxation.
‘During the project, we paid attention especially on how to make the new premises versatile and forward-looking. Our new office has fewer formal spaces; we don’t have fixed workstations, for example. This naturally gave rise to much discussion among the employees at the beginning, but together we have found functional solutions that support work. As a result of joint brainstorming, the office also has the Town Hall – a break room with different seating and table groups, sofas and bar tables. In addition, we have a terrace designed for recreation and relaxation, as breaks and disconnecting from work also in the middle of the working day are essential for well-being at work,” says Reijonen.
‘During this demanding project, it has been very nice to see how interested people have been in developing the company’s everyday life. The staff has genuinely taken ownership and seized opportunities to make an impact. It is all thanks to them,” concludes Reijonen.
Five tips from Sponda’s experts for a successful facility project
1. Identify needs and serve the business
‘Beautiful surfaces will not take the company forward if the premises do not serve the needs of the business. This is why the requirements for success should be carefully identified.”
2. Reserve time and resources
‘The facility project requires time as well as internal and external resources. It is not worth trying to do everything by yourselves, but you should not completely outsource everything either. The core functions of the company must be included in the design of the premises.’
3. Involve the employees throughout the project
‘It is important to understand that employee involvement is a prerequisite for the success of the project. The more people are involved, the better the new premises can meet the needs of the employees.’
4. Communicate consistently and according to plan
‘Internal communication is perhaps the most important single thing in a facility project. The internal needs must be known so that the new premises can serve the needs of the employees. It is also essential that employees are kept informed about the progress of the project and opportunities for participation.’
5. Streamline project management
‘The need for project management increases as the project progresses. The managing group should meet frequently during the busiest phase so that progress does not slow down due to delays in decision-making, for example.”
In the video below, see how Sponda, a business premises professional, succeeded in its office move: