Case Studies on Flexible Work:
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Digital Corporation Finland: Office of the Future

Finland is about one and a half times the size of Britain with a population of five million. Technically it is advanced, having more homes connected by cable network than anywhere else in Europe, and the highest density of mobile phones.

Digital is one of the world’s leading computer manufacturers. Their office in Helsinki was originally designed along traditional lines, with dedicated office space surrounded by high partitions. It was overcrowded, and people could neither see nor talk to each other.

Senior management wanted to release the creativity and potential of the staff. They saw the office as more than just ‘a place to keep warm, dry and store papers’. It should be a productivity tool. Their objective was not cost cutting, but maximising profit. Although this project was implemented as long ago as 1988, it is still seen as futuristic.

Solution

The Office of the Future is modelled on a television news room. The centre is busy and exciting with information flowing round giving a creative atmosphere. There are quiet pools, and ‘the best four person conference room’ - a garden swing. Participation in the design process and a free flow of information to and from the project team were critical in making a success of the project.

The office is supported by cordless telephones which can be used anywhere in the office, and are parked in their chargers when not in use. No desk space is owned, but access to any facility needed is easy, whether a quiet room, PC, telephone or meeting room. Other facilities are:

  • video and hi-fi sets
  • murals on one wall
  • kitchen facilities with tables and chairs
  • water fountains (both drinking and atmospheric)
  • a sauna for staff and customers

Benefits

Space savings of 40% were achieved, despite 25% of space being allocated to areas traditionally classed as relaxation and recreation. Productivity improved by 30%, and there was a significant increase in recorded sales.

Secretaries and administration staff found their jobs were enriched and they became the hub of the office. They were able to answer more queries directly, and became part of the improved team atmosphere. Access to managers became easier, individuals gained a better understanding of the whole office, and decision making improved. Greatly reduced attrition reflects the all round increase in staff satisfaction.

 

 

"Senior management wanted to release the creativity and potential of the staff"