Hartela has put the office to the ultimate test

HR Director Samppa Mäki-Patola shares three of his favorite things in the office

When Hartela built the Ilmala Station property next to the Ilmala train stop, the design and construction of the building was from the start guided by ecology and comfort of the users. ISKU furnished the site in 2018. We asked Hartela’s HR Director Samppa Mäki-Patola how the facilities have served over the years and during major changes.

“We wanted the whole team on one floor. The aim was to reinforce a culture of encounters where different floors do not separate people from each other. The heart of the space was the break room and lobby area, where everyone can gather. For example, on first of May we drank sima there and ate donuts together. We want to spend moments together – that is why we are coming to the office,” explains Samppa Mäki-Patola, Hartela’s HR Director.

The office has been tested in three transition phases

Hartela’s employees moved to the new premises in 2018. At that time, the majority worked full-time at the office. Remote working did not play a major role at the time. There were enough workstations for everyone, and ergonomics served in the best way possible. In 2020, the people of Hartela switched to remote working as COVID-19 hit and the office emptied.

“It was a challenging time in many ways. The situation in the world changed in an instant and we were all at home. Ergonomics was not as good at home and the ways of working were practiced together, ”says Samppa.

In the spring of 2022, the people of Hartela moved back to the office. Today, Hartela has a hybrid model between remote – and office working. Hartela has jointly created a working policy for working at the office and remotely. The office spaces are not used as much as before the pandemic. It is currently being used more than during the pandemic. Initially, Hartela’s premises were designed so that practically everyone can work at the office at all times. At that time, the actual utilization rate of the premises was clear – now it is under review. For example, the capacity of meeting rooms and break areas are currently being assessed.

“We are to some extent still in a remote working mode, but the office will be a place where you come to meet your colleagues. Due to the pandemic, we have moved to a multi-location work culture, and it has been a change for us again! During the pandemic, we actively asked our staff how they experience the work culture remotely and what their expectations were for the post-pandemic period. Now we are working according to the model that the staff desires and we will soon do another employee survey,” says Samppa.

Good ergonomics, sense of community and considering the needs of different users support business success

“I would definitely like to emphasize that our facilities and framework support our business operations. The facilities support business success and employees well-being. They enable the community work culture that we want, ” Samppa describes.

Samppa listed three of his favorite things at the office:

1. Ergonomics

“The best thing about our facilities is their versatility. All tables are electrically adjustable and the chairs have comprehensive adjustment features – making them suitable for all employees,” says Samppa.

2. The heart of the office, i.e., the break – and lobby area

“Creating a sense of community was taken into account in the design from the very beginning. We moved from the old three different floors. Now we are able to enjoy each other’s company in a large enough space. Here you can also meet spontaneously over a cup of coffee,” says Samppa.

3. Different office zones

“The design took into account the different needs of the office. We have designated workstations, mobile areas for non-residents and meeting rooms, as well as a common break area that I have already praised,” says Samppa.

The office was designed by Interior Designer Gullstén & Inkinen Oy.

Hartela is a Finnish family-owned company that employs about 500 people. Hartela’s facilities in Ilmala offer workspaces for about 80 people. In 2018, Hartela moved from their old premises on three different floors to completely new premises, and the aim of the project was to increase a sense of community.

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