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MEAE: Creating an activity-based environment in a historic building

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment wanted to renew its ways of working and use space more efficiently. Combining four locations under one roof on Aleksanterinkatu brings significant cost savings.

Aleksanterinkatu 4–10, Helsinki

Tenant

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE)


SHARED FACILITIES

Aleksanterinkatu conference centre and shared hub facility


SQUARE METRES

7 700

of which 5 400 m2 is office-type space


NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

400


  • SPACE EFFICIENCY WAS 36 m2 / man-year
  • SPACE EFFICIENCY NOW 14 m2 / man-year
  • COST SAVINGS 3,5 EUR million per year
Targets

Focus on indoor air quality and security

The goal was to build a modern, high-quality office space for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment – respecting the history of the building. The renovation project focused on indoor air quality and security solutions. The history of the project dates back to 2009, when the Ministry and Senate Properties signed an agreement on determining the Ministry’s needs. The initial plan was to move employees from four locations to two renovated buildings: Eteläesplanadi 4 and Aleksanterinkatu 4–10. The plan was further specified along the way, as the number of employees at the Ministry has decreased from 650 to 400 since the completion of the original work environment concept. Their tools and ways of working have also changed considerably. For this reason, a new facility solution was designed for the Ministry, with all of its operations being located on Aleksanterinkatu.

Mika Kankainen, Account Manager, Senate Properties

THIS IS HOW WE DID IT

A two-phase renovation project

The neoclassical Empire building occupied by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is protected by the Finnish Heritage Agency. The most extensive modernisation project in the history of the building started in 2015. Managed by Senate Properties, the EUR 21 million project was implemented in two phases. During this time, the employees worked in the Eteläesplanadi location and in the part of Aleksanterinkatu building that was not under renovation. The three air-conditioning rooms in the attic were expanded, and a new one was added to make enough space for modern technology. The intermediate floors were cleaned, and old insulation – such as marine sand and moss – was removed. The employees moved to the new facilities in October 2018. Senate Properties leased the facilities to the Prime Minister’s Office under the turnkey principle, ready-furnished, as the Office manages the Finnish government ministries’ facilities in a centralised manner.

Mika Kankainen, Account Manager, Senate Properties

Services provided to the Prime Minister’s Office and MEAE:

  • New facility solution
  • Support for change management and work environment development
  • Supply and maintenance of furniture
  • Conference centre and facility booking system
  • Facility services: cleaning, lobby and guarding services
  • Security services: security system administration, and service and maintenance
  • Cleaning and property maintenance services

Results

A high-quality activity-based environment

The biggest challenge was to make the 200-year-old facilities suitable for modern ways of working. In our experience, they meet this need surprisingly well. Old buildings often have large rooms that can be converted into activity-based environments, such as quiet and more interactive zones. We also wanted the employees to be able to experience the prestige of the building: the most historically significant parts were converted into meeting facilities and a cafeteria. The Government Administration Department was involved in the process. Established in 2015, the department is responsible for all Finnish government ministries’ facilities. Our future goal is for all ministries to work in more consistent premises on the Government campus around the Government Palace. When the distance between the different offices is just a few blocks, collaboration within and between the ministries will be much smoother.

Aino Jalonen, Director of Division, Prime Minister’s Office

Results

Job satisfaction and reduced costs

After a brief period of adjustment to the new offices, our employees have settled in very well. Many of them had already worked in an activity-based environment in the Eteläesplanadi building. During the change, employees were also supported through workshops and open communication about the progress of the renovation project. We listened to the employees and talked with them about their worries, concerns and questions. In addition, a removal mentor was appointed for each department to ensure a smooth flow of communication. Our employees are happy with the fresh, beautiful, well-functioning facilities, and there are enough workstations for everyone. By bringing its operations under one roof, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be able to reduce its annual rental expenses by EUR 3.5 million. Today, the rent for Aleksanterinkatu 4–10 is EUR 2 million, excluding furniture and security equipment. Our rented space decreased by around 70 per cent, which means that our cleaning and energy expenses will also decrease significantly.

Heidi Nummela, Director of HR and Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment