Gathering data to underpin decisions
The Wärtsilä team first encountered Leesman at an industry event where the firm was presenting its approach to workplace research: the team was in no doubt that they had spotted a timely opportunity. Atte Palomäki, executive vice president for communication, branding and marketing, explains:
As a result, Wärtsilä commissioned a ‘before’ study covering existing facilities as they were in 2017. This provided a raft of useful information to support the project planning for the new facilities. The pre-occupancy study of the two previous Wärtsilä buildings, located in different neighbourhoods of Helsinki, recorded an average Leesman effectiveness score (Lmi) of 61.0. “This offered us a good understanding of the things we needed to achieve or change, and the results were very much in line with employee feedback,” says Palomäki. “Targets for the relocation project were about supporting the ongoing transformation in the company, improving the employee and visitor experience, and living our purpose – ‘enabling sustainable societies with smart technology’.”
Wärtsilä also committed at that point to follow up with post-occupancy research in order to provide comparable numerical data for a sound analysis of the project outcomes.
Providing a workplace that works
The Helsinki Campus is home to about 500 Wärtsilä employees – though, being a dynamic business, the number of people on-site varies significantly week by week, and even day by day. In addition to company staff – covering a profile that spans technical specialists, sales, business support and management right up to senior level – the campus frequently also hosts numerous visitors, notably customers and business partners, but also from time to time school groups, politicians, media and others. Meeting the range of demands and expectations brought to these buildings by these diverse parties was one big challenge for both project planners and facilities managers.
The campus is made up of two adjacent buildings, one eight and the other four storeys high, comprising a total of about 10,000 sqm. The first two floors of the main building are ‘public’, consisting of meeting rooms and a conference centre, an experience centre showcasing what the company does and accommodating space for events and training, project areas for working with partners, and finally an internal acceleration centre. The six floors above this are office space, which offers a mix of open-plan and enclosed areas, such as small work rooms, meeting rooms, phone booths etc. The open space is divided into two zones based on activity: one for collaboration and discussion, the other for more focused and distraction-free work. In addition, on the fifth floor, there is a large communal cafe/living room-like space for relaxation, refreshments, internal events, impromptu meetings and the like.
The workspace is built to facilitate flexible work, meaning that instead of personal desks employees can choose to work in a variety of areas
based on their preferences and tasks at hand. Wärtsilä uses a digital ‘building twin’ tool to make space use more transparent and help
employees get the most from the space as a resource. The overall workplace design draws on home-like, colourful, fun themes implemented
with sustainable materials and with Wärtsilä branding visible throughout.
Riikka Haakana, workplace and service manager for Wärtsilä Real Estate, sums the new workplace up this way: “In practical terms, the
environment is about giving people the ability to choose how and where they work. Teams and individuals have fewer constraints and can
follow their preferences in ways that support what they need to do.