Interior design Jonna Rehmonen
Jyväskylä, Finland, 2020
Alva-yhtiöt Oy and the office employees of its subsidiaries, in total about 150 employees, moved to a new office space in April 2020.

New workplace to support new ways of working

Alva-yhtiöt Oy decided to start planning a new workplace as its employees were working in dispersed locations, in very varying circumstances and mostly in individual offices. This did not support the requirements of their project-based way of working involving teamwork. Working in various different locations also posed challenges for the efficiency of work and interaction.

Looking for and planning the new office space focused on finding premises which would serve new ways of working and employees’ wellbeing at work. It was also important for the workspace to support various work team cultures and operating models. The workplace change also coincided with a strategy update, brand renewal and company name change, in which Jyväskylän Energia became Alva, and it was important for all of these changes to be in alignment.

Martela's furniture at the new premises of Alva-yhtiöt
Sola chairs and Alku tables in the new premises of Alva-yhtiöt

Participatory planning created versatile spaces

The planning was started two years before the move. When a suitable office space was found, the company’s entire personnel and management were included in the planning. The office space planning started with the setting of goals and conditions in a workshop attended by the management. After this the focus moved to listening to the needs and wishes of the employees in several workshops arranged during different phases of the planning.

The work resulted in an office space made up of zones. At the heart is a work café that encourages interaction and further away the soundscape becomes quieter towards the edges of the office. There are several open-plan areas and project rooms for teamwork. This enables each employee to choose a workstation that suits each task and situation and allows them to better manage their working days.

Flexible service model provided instant benefits

The decision was made to acquire the furniture with a flexible service model in which all the furniture, including information services that measure office utilisation rate and satisfaction, is provided through a single monthly fee. One of the goals of the change was an office that is as flexible as possible, as the business and company, and consequently the ways of working and the needs are evolving all the time. There is no need to commit to the same furniture for years ahead because the office space can be updated whenever the need arises.

The move to the new office coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, so the full implementation of the premises was significantly delayed. Looking back, the decisions regarding flexibility, which were made before the pandemic, now seem very wise. The significance of flexibility, which was already set as the main goal years ago, also rose to an entirely new level due to the pandemic.

The Workplace as a Service model provides flexibility in such a way that, as we gain more experience in its use, we can modify the space and its furniture. When it is safe to return to the office, our workplace will be a really inviting environment to come to. We had a strong desire to focus on pleasant surroundings, in addition to a functional workplace. Martela created excellent conditions for this, and this also shows,” says Tiina Mikkola, Development Manager at Alva.