Food Folk’s cosy office on Paciuksenkatu street in Helsinki is once again a gathering place for the company’s employees. People have spontaneous conversations in the hallways and cafeterias, or sit focused on their work in the quiet spaces. An atmosphere of doing, of getting things done, is apparent to any visitor as soon as they enter the lobby.
It’s the result of a recent redesign of the company’s working environment, based on a concern that the previous company premises no longer serviced their goal of efficient work, and did not adequately support their various different working modes. This was reflected in people’s lack of enthusiasm for being at the office. “Even though we allow people the flexibility of working elsewhere, our general hope is that people would prefer to work in the office”, says Jessica Jokinen, Head of People Development at Food Folk.
Employees’ satisfaction with the new premises was one of the management’s priorities from the beginning, and to ensure that everyone’s wishes and needs were taken into account, the company turned to an expert in the field. They understood that it is not always so easy to unlearn old habits and patterns.
Kinnarps Oy held a work environment development webinar for Food Folk Suomi and a workshop for their employees and management, and also carried out a survey of all the employees and a Next Office® workplace analysis.
"Kinnarps helped to open our eyes, enabling us to shed our older operating models and make our offices more flexible and inspiring, more supportive of today’s forms of hybrid work. We knew from the start that we wanted to get our employees involved in the process of making the change, from the design phase on."
The redesigned office exudes calm, harmony of colour, and beautiful details. Previously, every employee had a designated workstation – now, there are 30 traditional desk workstations, plus the options of working in a more relaxed position on one of the sofas, or going to the silent rooms when you need calmer surroundings.
The new office design is heavily focused on improving employees’ well-being, with the understanding that it’s important to get up and move around from time to time during the work day. The electric sit-stand desks make it possible to work standing up from time to time; there is also a space known as the “ergonomic parking lot” where employees can to go find the seat that best suits them, whether it’s a saddle chair or a desk bike.
“In an activity-based office, people tend to change their work posture more frequently during the day . And of course, there’s also the option of going to the company’s training centre, one floor below, which will sometimes be empty. There are still those who work from home, and that’s fine, but people come to the office noticeably more often now”, Jokinen says.
"It’s been wonderful to see people once again having talks in the hallways, having lunch together, brainstorming solutions to challenges at the coffee machine, and – most importantly – getting motivation from one another! I am so happy and proud that, with the help of Kinnarps’ expertise, we’re now able to offer our employees such a great working environment."
Jessica Jokinen says that they have received only positive feedback about the new working environment: “Even employees who didn’t come to the office much before have found their way back here. For many employees, the best thing is that they are no longer just sitting with their own team every day – they’re also sitting and talking with people from other departments.”
“The collaboration with Kinnarps was very straightforward and professional. Their opinions were very trustworthy, and the end result was exactly what was promised and planned – even a bit better, perhaps”, she adds.
According to Jessica Jokinen, the best things about the new working environment are:
1. The versatility of the space
2. The employees’ positive reaction towards the mobile workstations, and to the new office setup where they are not always surrounded by the same people
3. The employees’ newfound level of vitality
Images: Timo Kauppila
Text: Kinnarps Oy