Wellbeing Shows in the Bottom Line

Employees’ satisfaction with their working conditions and work areas is a financial benefit to the employer too.

Winds of change are blowing in the Jyväskylä-based Media Cabinet Oy. “Thanks to the acoustic solutions applied in our premises, noise level is moderate even in open spaces. Indoor air quality is important to us and the layout, which is designed for a diversity of working spaces, ensures flexibility,” says CEO Kari Turunen. As the online service company and its staff grew, Media Cabinet needed larger, more practical premises. At the end of last year, it moved into new office premises that have been tailored to meet the company’s needs.

The work environment design of the office, located in the Technopolis Innova 1 Campus, as well as its spatial planning and interior design, were implemented by ISS Tilapalvelut. The end result is a functional space that takes into account the efficiency of the premises and well-being at work equally.

A few months after moving in everything seems to be working very well. The company’s employees are very pleased with their new working environment. Turunen is confident that it will bear fruit.

“Employees’ satisfaction with their working conditions has increased greatly. It’s also evident in the company’s profitability,” Turunen says happily.

Designed for people

Media Cabinet’s example verifies what a great quantity of research from Finland and abroad has found.

Published last autumn, the World Green Building Council’s extensive report Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices lists things that affect well-being at work and that also reflect directly on the productivity of workers and consequently operating profit.

In addition to indoor air quality and noise, it examines thermal comfort, daylight, green views, layout, interior design and opportunities for movement and exercise.

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health recently finished its Human & Green project, which is part of a wider research programme run by the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOKs). The same observations were made here: workspaces have a significant impact on well-being, whether measured in numbers or subjectively.

“Workspace is more than just the efficient utilisation of square metres; it must be designed for the people and activities that will occupy it. The psychological and social dimension is an integral part of sustainable construction,” says Senior Researcher Virpi Ruohomäki from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

“When people feel well they work longer and more efficiently.”

Minimising noise

According to the World Green Building Council’s report, staff expenses typically make up no less than 90 per cent of companies’ operational costs.

“Working conditions and well-being really do make a difference. Sickness absences and incapacity to work cause billions of euros worth of losses in Finland, so it’s a big issue economically as well,” Ruohomäki says.

Media Cabinet’s new premises cater currently for 21 people. Team work and meetings with customers are at the heart of the company’s operations.

“Our soundproofed meeting room, group workspace and phone booth give people the space to concentrate. Sound absorbing materials were also chosen for the floor, ceiling, partition curtains and screens,” CEO Turunen says.

The colouring of the office follows the brand reform that Media Cabinet has been working on. A combination of red and orange provides a pleasing contrast to the harmonious grey and white.

Ruohomäki explains that research supports the wisdom of choices like these.

“One of the advantages of an office layout designed for diverse spaces is that there is room for privacy as well as for being sociable. The chance to choose between working in peace and working together promotes occupational well-being. Aesthetics are also important.

Revitalising nature

“Daylight and landscapes are known to have a revitalising effect especially on the performance of information workers,” says Ruohomäki.

Turunen from Media Cabinet is happy that their new premises are located in a spot with lovely views. One of the walls is glass from floor to ceiling.

“Our office is on the 13th floor and so the stunning view brings a stimulating flavour to our workday.

The ABCs of a functional workspace

A workspace that promotes well-being and a good workflow…

• is healthy and safe

• enables interaction

• also gives space for privacy

• offers choices

• provides revitalising experiences

• invokes a positive experience in staff as well as customers.

Source: Human & Green research project, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health 2015