We believe workplaces are an opportunity for companies to enhance engagement, innovation, productivity and above all, wellbeing of knowledge workers. Everything starts with a human being, the individuals using the workplace. How does the human brain function? What kind of environment best supports its needs? How can we use the latest innovations to best support human beings in the working environment?
Let's hear what today's speakers Matti Rantaniemi, Jenni Poutanen, Ari-Matti Purhonen, Arja-Liisa Kaasinen, Kiti Müller and Minna Andersson have to say about these topics! Follow the social media conversation with #workplace2016 and @Martelagroup.
Matti Rantaniemi, CEO Martela
Matti Rantaniemi started as the CEO of Martela about a year ago. For him, it has been a year of learning. “I used to work in a global corporation where I spent 60 % of my days in my room, door closed, making calls and feeling miserable! Working at Martela without my own room or strict hierarchy makes me so inspired! Every day I have the freedom to choose in which space I want to work, and have the possibility to meet colleagues and customers”, Rantaniemi tells.
In his work he hopes to be able to help others find the most suitable environments to work and be creative in.
Jenni Poutanen, Architect SAFA, University Teacher, Tampere University of Technology, School of Architecture
Architect Jenni Poutanen brings the perspective of a researcher to the event. She is a part of a Tekes-funded "Pop up - knowledge work productivity" research project, which aims to capture new knowledge, solution models and measurement tools for improving the productivity and wellbeing of knowledge work.Knowledge workers account for about 60–70 % of total workforce and their efficiency is weakened by the continuous feeling of rush and fragmentation. According to Poutanen, the focus of knowledge work is no longer on efficiency but rather effectiveness, or doing the right things. Open or closed offices should be replaced by multi-space solutions that support expert and knowledge work’s varying roles and tasks. “Some people might be troubled by the disappearance of a dedicated workspace. In multi-space work the employee does not get to personalize their workspace like before but instead they have the freedom to move where ever they feel they want to work at at that moment”, Poutanen explains. She reminds that personal control and learning how to take your time and focus when necessary is important.
Ari-Matti Purhonen, VP Business Unit Finland and Sweden & Group Offering, Martela Oyj
The Industrial Revolution brought the people from the fields to the factories and the creative people indoors. Now we have the opposite happening, which is going to revolutionize leadership and management. Another great change is coming from digitalization: everything that can be done more efficiently by automation will be automatized. “What remains is expert work”, Purhonen summarizes. The level of wellbeing will increase tremendously. When an individual can choose where and when to work, the employers have to compete to get them. To win this competition, the employers have to offer the best possible working conditions. “Work environment is a possibility: productivity and wellbeing increase and at the same time the costs go down."
In the future work is done in different places: at home, remotely and on-site. Hybrid offices meet this need by offering not only workstations that support wellbeing but also social interactions that are vital for work. “The work environment tells a lot about the work culture and is a management tool”, says Ari-Matti Purhonen. “There is no single correct work space solution. The company culture defines what kind of a combination is best for each community. The hybrid office is a continuous process.”
Arja-Liisa Kaasinen, Workplace Planning Manager, Martela Oyj
“We don’t design spaces for companies anymore, but for users! Designing is done based on the knowledge we get from the organization”, tells Workplace Planning Manager Arja-Liisa Kaasinen from Martela.
Waiving of the named and owned offices changes hierarchies and requires new rules and policies. When creating the future workplaces we shall take versatility, freedom, flexibility and wellbeing into account. “Companies are of course different and requirements vary. Technology liberates, but remote work demands very clear and mutually agreed policies and well functioning equipment to be comfortable and successful”, Kaasinen emphasizes.
Kiti Müller, Neurologist, Nokia Technologies, Digital Health Lab
In her work the expert of Nokia Digital Health Lab, neurologist and professor Kiti Müller aims to create a good basis for health and maintaining common wellbeing. “My focus is specifically on the human being. It’s good to have a diverse understanding of how humans work and what affects our health and wellbeing. Only then we can understand how work and life works”, Müller says. “Everyday life flows nicely if it’s balanced right and if recovery has been taken care of too.”
“Brain, mind and body are an inseparable trio. A work environment that respects this trio is in the heart of wellbeing”, Müller says and reminds that taking care of the body is taking care of the mind. “If you really want to pamper your mind, practise the kind of things on your free time that you don’t do during your working day.”
Kiti Müller wants to remind us that we are primates that strive for social interaction: Social animals for whom hands are an essential tool. For example, weaving or drawing during a lecture can help us remember, learn and hear. In addition, humans have a highly developed talent for communicating by and interpreting expressions, gestures and other non-verbal communication. “In light of these things I am wondering about modern, virtual communication tools”, she ponders.
The brain is flexible and adapts to the challenges of our surroundings. The stakes and speed of brain intensive work can however only be stretched to a certain limit, or a tired brain can easily be burned out. Müller’s advice for preventing this is to meet other people: “Too often we only communicate digitally and forget face-to-face interactions."