New ways of working and employee well-being are driving a boom in office space transformations

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was anticipated that offices would die and that we would fully shift to remote work. However, shared workspace expert Technopolis has detected an opposite development in the need for office spaces. The surface area of offices has actually increased, and office spaces are rapidly being transformed to meet the new needs of working.

Office space transformations present two clear trends: offices are now designed to better meet employees’ different ways of working, and there is an increasing demand for offices to support a sense of community and well-being.

One year ago in March 2022, Technopolis launched its Office Zones concept, which offers businesses a new, flexible way to design needs-oriented office spaces. In 2022, Technopolis carried out over 40 Office Zones transformation projects, covering about 25,000 square meters in total. What is seen in all these workspace transformations is the need for collaborative space, the heart of the office, that brings people together and advances wellbeing. Sometimes the solution for this is as simple as introducing comfortable sitting areas that can be transformed to serve different needs.

There is strong interest across industries towards office spaces that can be customized based on needs and purpose of use. Office Zones transformations have already been implemented for businesses in various fields such as technology, logistics and software as well as public sector operators. The size scale of transformations projects has also been broad, ranging from small 60-square-meter offices to 4,000-square-meter business premises

“It has been great to follow the progress. Businesses and organizations have finally started to take a needs-oriented approach to office spaces, which allows the space to meet the organization’s needs and employees’ new work-related requirements while supporting wellbeing, as offices should,” says Terhi Aho, Head of Services and Concepts at Technopolis.

“The new ways of working are widely recognized but time and adaptation are required for actual change to happen. It is also important to engage employees in the office transformation process right from the beginning. This ensures that the changes truly suit the needs of the employees – all while building a positive outlook on the change, which will have a significant impact on the everyday life of each employee,” says Jaana von Bell, Concept Manager at Technopolis responsible for Office Zones.

Finland is ahead of Norway and the Baltics in office design

Technopolis operates in six countries, which allows the company to make comparisons between country-specific industry trends. In fact, the implemented office transformations show differences in expectations towards the modern office. An increasing number of Finnish organizations are switching to a multi-space office model to meet the constantly changing needs of the working environment. At the same time, many office spaces in, for example, Norway, Lithuania and Estonia still consist of open-plan offices or separate workrooms, as the changing modes of working are not yet realized as a widescale transition to modern office solutions.

“An important element in the office transformation process is tracking and measuring user experience once the new space has been taken into use, and its effects on, for example, employee wellbeing become visible. Our customers have already reported increased employee attendance at the remodeled offices,” says Aho.

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