Rigid workplaces slow down change

Blog: Matti Rantaniemi, Chief Executive Officer, Martela

According to EU statistics, Finland is one of the leading European countries in terms of making organisational changes. Almost half of Finnish companies have changed their organisation in the last five years; some companies have done it several times.

The pace of change has made the conventional way of thinking about the workplace obsolete. From the management’s point of view, the amount of space often seems wrong as the newly refurbished office and its furniture no longer match the new personnel numbers or the operating model.

Workplaces have a fundamental impact on personnel satisfaction, productivity and wellbeing. A workplace is also a management tool: design choices can effectively support - or hinder - genuine change.

Intuitively, everyone understands the significance of a workplace. When someone says they have changed jobs, one of the first things people ask about is the new office. In good and bad.

An organisation that looks after its employees thinks of the workplace on a strategic level and understands that it is a combination of physical, social and digital factors. In a functioning workplace strategy, the needs related to physical space are derived from both future outlooks and employees’ experiences.

Proper tools are now available for monitoring the results of workplace development. For instance, sensors placed in an office provide the most detailed data on how different types of workspaces are actually used.

The managers must accept that the needs related to a workplace will change. Personnel numbers and organisational structures change and physical space must adapt.

I warmly recommend that you design your offices openly and in dialogue with your personnel, and draw on the collective wisdom of the working community instead of just letting the management team create the vision. This will lead to a high quality workplace that creates a framework for the employees’ wellbeing.

Matti Rantaniemi

Blog writer: Matti Rantaniemi, Chief Executive Officer, Martela Corporation