Unisport: Ergonomic office space improved job satisfaction

When the Unisport head office in the downtown of Helsinki became too small, they had to find a new office space with a reasonable location.

  • Challenge

    When the Unisport head office in the downtown area of the capital became too small, they had to find a new office space with a reasonable location. The goal of the new office space was to combine different departments and bring operations diversified across the country under the same roof. Combining different functions, employees and work methods requires careful planning, as the new office space needed to equally serve the needs of all departments.

  • Solution

    A move to a new office space was seen as an opportunity to improve occupational well-being. Therefore, the planning for the new space was conducted while placing employee needs first. A survey conducted before the move identified what employees needed to succeed and the work environment was built to respond to these needs. The ergonomic office space has improved employee satisfaction and the surfaces covered with Unisport’s own materials serve as an excellent reference on the expertise of the company.

Unisport wanted to combine the different departments under a single roof

Unisport is a market leader of sports facilities and surface materials in the Nordics. The move to a new office space became current when the head office in the downtown area of the capital became too small. The old building also had practical problems: the stone floors in the open floor-plan office caused excessive noise and disrupted concentration.

The move to a new office space was seen as an opportunity to bring departments working in different locations under the same roof. Office Manager Iida Friman participated in the process from the start.

– Early on, we already had strict criteria for the office space, as we wanted to bring different functions under the same roof with the move. Therefore, all of the different types of working methods and needs of the departments had to be considered during planning.

Combining functions set strict criteria also for the location. It had to be easy to travel to the new head office not only from the capital, but also from the surrounding cities. Ultimately, suitable office space was located at the Technopolis campus in Vantaa, which provided an excellent advantage to the company operating in the Nordics due to its proximity to the international airport. It has allowed the Group to organize mutual meetings more frequently with ease. In fact, international colleagues and partners have frequently praised the new office space and its location.

Employee needs directed the planning of the office space

Combining the departments forced Unisport to consider new solutions. The challenge was to ensure that those previously seated in their individual offices would adjust to the open floor-plan spaces as painlessly as possible.

– Already prior to the move, we assessed the needs and wishes of our employees and used them as the basis for designing the new office. We wanted to determine what types of elements would allow for the most efficient work conditions, Friman says.

Together with Technopolis, we examined what types of solutions would be used in the new office space and how the space could be utilized in different ways. Friman praises the adaptability of the Technopolis office space:

– At Technopolis, we were able to influence the planning of the space including the positioning and number of rooms, for example. We were also free to determine the size of the office space we needed.

"As a growing company, we value flexible office space that does not force you to move again in the near future."

Iida Friman, Office Manager, Unisport

In addition to the office space, Unisport also utilizes Technopolis services in order to help with the daily routines of their employees: everything is available from a single vendor, everything from cleaning and mailing services to catering for meetings.

Well-planned office space increased motivation

Good communication and listening to employees proved to be key factors in the successful office space change.

– During a change, you can never fully know how the personnel will react and how they will experience the new office and its practices. For us, success was evident based on how quickly the employees adopted the space. In addition, many have stated that the new nice office and increased job satisfaction motivate them to spend more time at the office even if the commute became a bit longer for some, says Friman.

Excellent ergonomics is important for the company working in the sports industry, which is why so much attention was paid to wishes regarding it. For example, it is vital for sales representatives who spend a lot of time on the phone that there is not too much noise in the background. Noise is prevented, for example, with different types of work areas and acoustic solutions, such as wall-to-wall carpeting and sound-deadening panels.

Both Friman and the employees have been satisfied with the chosen solutions.

– Even those who were a bit skeptical about their move from their private offices to an open floor-plan office were pleasantly surprised with the efficiency of the space. Communication with colleagues has increased along with the change and now as there is no echo or other excess noise, the open floor-plan office does not hinder concentration.

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Unisport wanted the office to be ergonomic and reflect the company spirit

The office space reflecting the company spirit and expertise was created through cooperation

In addition to ergonomics, it was important for Unisport that the office reflects the company spirit. A suitable partner for designing the office was conveniently obtained through Technopolis and together with Kinnarps, the office space was designed to reflect the company vision.

– Our motto “Live to move. Move to live.” is now reflected in our office. The running track, wall bars and exercise equipment that run through the office perfectly reflect us and increase occupational well-being. We also have office bikes, which are devices that look like exercise bikes, which can be used while you are working. In an inspiring office, people are a lot more physically active than in a traditional office, Friman summarizes.

Meeting rooms are also decorated in accordance with the theme and placing ergonomics first. Instead of traditional desks and chairs, a variety of solutions that support different working positions have been created. For example, in one of the meeting rooms, people sit on exercise balls. In another, benches inspired by vaulting horses used in school gymnasiums are used for seating.

At the same time, the rooms accentuate the expertise of the company.

– Unisport’s own sports surfaces and materials are used on the surfaces of the office space. For example, all of the floors are designed and made by our experts internally. They allow the office space to reflect us while also helping us demonstrate our operations to partners in a completely new way.

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