According to expert estimates, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a permanent change in the working life and the ways people work. Remote work is here to stay, but we are missing out on the social side of working. How can We Land – an office building rising in Ruoholahti – respond to the present demands for workspaces and the new normal of working?

In November 2020, the real estate investment consultancy JLL published a survey on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on working. The responses received from over 2000 employees representing ten different countries speak for themselves.

”Something has changed permanently, so there’s no going back. The survey has aroused some good discussion on the kind of workspaces that people want to have in the future, what they expect from the employer, and how to combine the advantages of working from the home and at the workplace,” Sales Manager Uku Jaatinen and Senior Developer Heikki Alén from NCC summarise.


Home or workplace, or why not both?

Since the start of the pandemic one year ago, the employees have mastered the art of working from the home, and they will continue doing so even after the pandemic. The survey reveals some 72 per cent of the employees are ready to work remotely on a regular basis whereas the majority wants to work remotely at least two days a week.

On the other hand, 24 per cent want to work at the workplace and only there. The majority is happy with the hybrid solution where one can work partially alone at home and partially together with others at the workplace.

”The employees appreciate the freedom of choice. Of course, office space will always be needed, but it is no longer the size of the spaces that matters. Today’s office spaces must be multi-use and suitable for many different demands, they must support work well-being and efficiency alike, and make the workday go smoother overall,” Alén says.

”Of course, these matters were topical already before the pandemic, but today the companies are facing a perfect opportunity to reconsider their space demands so as to strengthen the commitment of their employees and to create new working environments. The employer is expected to support the different alternatives of working in a new way,” Jaatinen states.


People must have something in common in order to experience community spirit

Since the companies and employees are forced to work remotely, this causes a growing demand and appreciation of social encounters. Despite any differences in character, man is basically a social being with a strong need to belong.

”You can work almost anywhere, but successes can only be made at joint encounters. In order to experience community spirit you must have something in common: common goals and projects; you need to work together and meet also otherwise than virtually,” Jaatinen explains.

Commuting to the workplace could be realised as a natural way of starting and closing the workday, which is not possible when working from the home. The limit between work and weekend can become blurred when home and workplace are one and the same. On the other hand, the virus has taught us what is best to do remotely and what must be done at the workplace.

The exceptional situation requires rethinking the spaces that could best support the employees’ daily routines, creativity, innovation, concentration or relaxation. Alén emphasises that it is just the space design  that can make the different combinations of working possible.


We Land meets changing demands

We Land which is being built in Ruoholahti, Helsinki was ahead of its time while still on the designer’s workdesk. This new building project is not only about headquarters, office spaces, workplaces, workdesks and chairs, but also about life, employees and achieving results. In short, We Land is all about what is needed now and what will be needed in the future.

”When we pondered over the We Land concept we made a profound study on what attracts people to the site and how their daily errands could be arranged more smoothly and purposefully. We Land supports working and achieving successes at work owing to a space concept that fosters community spirit and a high service culture,” Alén says.

What does this mean in practice? It means, for example, that the spaces can be modified depending on the demands that can vary over a company’s life cycle. It means hospitality, individual service and flexibility. It also means transparency, vivacity, comfort and well-being. It can be experienced as a wide choice of restaurant services offered at We Land as opposed to the traditional canteen offering.

”Eating breakfast or lunch together can be an important moment of relaxation during the workday. Even if you sit six hours a day in a cubicle with your headphones on, it is nice to meet with the workmates on your way to the coffee machine and exchange a few words,” Alén and Jaatinen agree.

Top 5 in getting to the workplace

  • Flexible and versatile services
  • Spaces to support different kinds of tasks
  • Workmates and natural encounters
  • Community spirit, feeling of belonging
  • Successes are achieved together

Read more about We Land to be completed in December 2023: https://welandruoholahti.fi/