Finnish defence procurement is planned in an activity-based environment
Defence Properties —
Harri Tilvis, Quality Manager, also reminds us that it’s advisable to change work posture every hour or so. Employees in the Joint Systems Centre have good opportunities to do this: there are electrically adjustable desks and various seats available for working and breaks alike.
The new work and learning environment concept is overhauling not just the barracks and training facilities, but also Finnish Defence Forces’ office premises. The first flexible and modifiable office premises according to the new model were brought into use in December 2019 at the Finnish Defence Forces’ Joint Systems Centre at the Aitovuori service point in Tampere. The 300 employees there are responsible among other things for Finnish defence procurements and the technical management of the army’s materiel.
In their work, the staff of the Joint Systems Centre are very mobile in their work and visit different partners and come to their own office to do specially classified work and to meet colleagues. The new activity-based environment is divided according to tasks and the required security classification – so no longer for individual employees. Everyone chooses the space they need based on the task in hand at any given time.
”Most employees do not have a designated workstation since the goal is to work independently of location and in diverse ways. This will initially call for a new attitude and ways of working, but these are quickly learnt. An activity-based environment combines a new approach and way of working,” sums up Vesa Rakkola, Investment Manager at Senate Properties.
Part A of the building serves ”in the old style”, which means the traditional office rooms have just been redecorated. Employees can choose their workstation from the new side or stick to the old one. Growing numbers want to switch to the new side or at least go and try it out.
The Aitovuori premises earlier served as Finavia’s air traffic control centre and Senate Properties acquired it in 2017 specifically for the use of the Joint Systems Centre. The renovation project lasted a couple of years and despite a tight schedule, the Joint Systems Centre was able to move into the new premises as planned.
“Together with the Finnish Defence Forces, we planned on how to combine the high mobility of the staff with the need for interaction in the workspace. The outcome can be seen, for example, in the open, glass-walled communal space and practical, small meeting rooms,” says Vesa Rakkola.
The modernisation had the same goal as in other central government activity-based environment solutions: to create a concept that supports the working of the unit concerned and enables the premises to be modified if required.
“This is a major reform in the Finnish Defence Forces’ office premises. The experiences and outcomes of the pilot project are being followed in many places. Here, the outcome was a thoroughbred activity-based office, with special features including spaces of different security classifications. Another special feature is the need military personnel have for large lockers.”
Need for small meeting rooms
Colonel Reima Kuutsa, Head of the Joint Systems Centre, is pleased that the new work premises include several small meeting rooms that the personnel need in their work. It’s important for an expert to be able to negotiate with partners securely by video link or get together with a few colleagues to consider special issues. The security classified premises will also be used to do work which is not allowed to be done remotely.
“Everyone in the Finnish Defence Forces can do some work remotely provided this has been agreed beforehand with their supervisor. The personnel at the Joint Systems Centre work many days remotely. They also meet partners elsewhere because outsiders are not admitted to our premises,” Reima Kuutsa says.
The Joint Systems Centre has particularly paid attention to communication and collecting feedback in commissioning the new facilities. Harri Tilvis, Quality Manager, is responsible for sharing information and utilising feedback.
“When leaving work, employees can easily give feedback about the mood of the day using a smiley terminal. In addition, we collect more detailed feedback about furniture functionality, for example. Together with Senate Properties and Tampere University, we also conducted an extensive survey for our people. The plan is to repeat this in about a year so that we know how expectations and practice meet,” Tilvis says.
The activity-based environment of the Joint Systems Centre will be developed based on the feedback received to make it function even better not just for the Centre’s own staff, but also for future facilities projects for the Finnish Defence Forces.
“Together, we strive to find the best possible solutions for each need. Our pilot will provide information for other Finnish Defence Forces units. Switching to a multi-activity space is then much easier for the following troops,” Reima Kuutsa says.
The new premises have already been commended for their brightness and diversity. Colonel Kuutsa points out that the premises are still not completely ready but are still being developed and personalised. The personnel will be able, for example, to come up with a name for the premises in a name competition. Whereas no military props or other items that collect dust will be brought into the new, clean facilities, the plan is to work with the interior designer to develop imagery on a military theme for the walls.
Good indoor air must be supported in many ways
Good indoor air played a huge role when the earlier air traffic control centre was renovated into the Joint Systems Centre.
“We took indoor air seriously. We pursued good indoor air by using every means we could,” says Harri Tilvis, Quality Manager at the Joint Systems Centre.
The best options for indoor air were chosen as construction materials and were handled only in dry conditions. The ventilation in the building was completely replaced and the cleaning after renovation was thorough. Separate air purifiers removed the smell of renovation and new furniture during a period of four months and cleaning was otherwise done with care.
“Right from the start, we wanted to emphasise that these are safe workspaces also in terms of indoor air conditions,” says Colonel Reima Kuutsa, Head of the Joint Systems Centre.
Indoor air quality in the new office premises is constantly measured.
“We aim to strive for pro-action to ensure the quality of the indoor air at all times. Together with Senate Properties, we carried out a three-phase initial cleaning which allows us to reduce harmful compounds in the air by more than 30%,” Tilvis says.
Indoor air is also protected by ways of working. The Joint Systems Centre is a paperless office. At the end of the day, each employee leaves their workstation neat and tidy for the next user and stows their belongings in their own locker.
The military personnel at the Joint Systems Centre is often in the field testing, for example, tanks or other defence system components. The military personnel have just as much equipment as conscripts, in other words a large locker full. This is why there needs to be a lot of storage space – but the lockers are no longer next to the office as was earlier the case. Employees ditch their equipment and change into office clothing and indoor footwear before coming to the office.
“This is something new in the Finnish Defence Forces administrative units. There was earlier little guidance on the storage of equipment in terms of indoor air quality. Here, we drew up detailed instructions to ensure our new workspace is kept in good condition,” Reima Kuutsa says.
Joint Systems Centre of the Finnish Defence Forces
An administrative unit comes under the Defence Forces Logistics Command.
Joint Systems Centre is an administrative unit of the Logistics Command of the Finnish Defence Forces.
The Logistics Command owns and supports the materiel of the Finnish Defence Forces and is responsible for its technical life cycle management.
The staff of the Logistics Command and the Joint Systems Centre are responsible for defence materiel acquisitions.
The Joint Systems Centre acts as the system responsible for materiel and produces a situational picture of technical systems and military equipment.
Workplaces in Tampere, Turku and Jyväskylä.
There are around 500 staff, of whom around 300 work at the Aitovuori service point in Tampere.