“People have found the premises comfortable and functional; we have more organic encounters and exchange of information. I am happy to say that the feedback on open communication and participation has been surprisingly good throughout the project. In conclusion, I can state that everything went as well as possible”.
Juha Seppälä, Project Manager for the relocation
Established almost 150 years ago, this exchange-listed industrial technology company relocated to Sanoma House, the modern, glass-walled building in the heart of Helsinki. The location of the new Metso head office reinforces the changes that the company has undergone in recent years. After a reformed strategy and corporate structure, the old six-floor head office at Fabianinkatu no longer served the business in the most optimal way. At the beginning of December 2016, employees at Metso’s head office moved to refurbished premises at Sanoma House.
Flexible space solutions to support collaboration
The aim of the new premises is to improve cooperation between different operations, make employees feel more comfortable and enhance space utilisation. In Sanoma House, the entire head office is accommodated on one floor, which means more organic interaction and exchange of information.
After significant alteration works, the fifth floor of Sanoma House was transformed into an activity-based office in which people can find the right workspace for the task at hand in a flexible manner. In addition to their workstations, employees have access to quiet rooms and conference facilities. Calls can be made in telephone booths. The staff café provides opportunities for more informal work and meetings. In addition, a group of 16 people are piloting a scheme of working without designated workstations.
Giving employees a voice – participatory change management
The move was a major change, not only logistically but also culturally. At the Fabianinkatu premises, most people had their own individual office, whereas at Sanoma House, only the group management team has its own offices. Thus, it was clear from the start that active change management was a prerequisite for the success of the project.
In practice, it meant continuous communication, taking into account the employees’ views in decision-making, and involving them in the design of the new premises. At the start of the project, we surveyed the employees’ needs with regards to space, and we organised several workshops along the way. When selecting the premises, we also considered where the employees lived: the optimal logistical location of Sanoma House ensured that everyone could reach the office by public transport. Employees also had a say in the selection of furniture. For example, they tested a dozen office and conference room chairs at the old premises.
The process of settling in to everyday life and new practices at the new premises is an ongoing process, but so far, at least, feedback has been positive. According to feedback, the new premises are comfortable and functional. As soon as the move was over, we agreed on office etiquette for the new premises.
Read the entire blog post by Juha Seppälä, Project Coordinator responsible for the move, here.