The new environment supports new working methods at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

The new arrangement of the work environment has made it easier to get to know colleagues and improved the atmosphere, communications and the team spirit – and it has meant saying goodbye to paper documents.

Introducing unassigned workstations

The Enterprises and Regional Development Department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has moved to renovated multipurpose offices in Eteläesplanadi, Helsinki. “We, the personnel and the management, decided that we would have unassigned workstations in the new offices,” says Director-General Marja-Riitta Pihlman. The decision was supported by the fact that the assigned offices were previously often empty. “A lot of our work is carried out outside the Ministry offices. The nature of the work will not change. I would actually say that more work will be done somewhere else.”

Goodbye to paper

“In general, people no longer use paper,” says Pihlman and describes how she used to have masses of paper in her office. “I took the paperwork with me every time we moved offices. The last time we moved, to the premises in Mikonkatu, I had 23 boxes of paper and books. When we moved to Esplanadi, I disposed of 20 boxes and only brought 3 with me. Some of this material ended up in our library and some is stored in my locker. I haven’t needed any of it since we moved here.” Pihlman wants to emphasise that having a paperless office requires top-of-the-range laptops and good Wi-Fi connections. “Our Wi-Fi is very reliable,” she says.

New dimensions

The new open spaces have encouraged and inspired the Ministry’s personnel to introduce new methods. For example, people can go to the yoga room to work, meditate or change their pace during the day. People have also been inspired to bounce ideas off each other. The tradition of the department manager’s coffee mornings came about from the shared canteen in the Esplanadi premises. The manager sends a message about a morning coffee break when he has something to discuss with the staff. The other participants can also present important and interesting points during the break.

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