For the development financier Finnfund, the relocation from Helsinki’s central business district to Ruoholahti was not a straightforward decision. Few of its employees would now be willing to move back to the city centre.

When Finnfund’s office on Uudenmaankatu was closed for renovation and the organisation faced a move away from the central business district, there was concern among its 82 employees.

What would life be like away from the services and public transport connections of the city centre?

"Already the first of our criteria meant that we would be moving out of the central business district.”

“We started the search for a new office with three key criteria in our minds. The price per square metre needed to be appropriate, the location needed to be optimal from our employees’ perspective and we wanted a space that we can customise according to our needs. The first of these criteria meant that we would be moving out of the central business district,” says Finnfund CTO Vesa Jordan.

The new office space was found in Ruoholahti, which has been ranked as the second-most innovative district in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Finnfund chose Ruoholahden Tähti, a Sponda-owned property that is the first office building in Finland to be awarded BREEAM In-Use Excellent environmental certification. 

In addition to the three selection criteria, sustainability was also emphasised in the choice of premises.

“Our entire business is built on sustainability, so we wanted to find an office space that matches our values and a responsible business premises partner,” Jordan explains. 

Ruoholahti, Kalasatama or Aviapolis?

Finnfund shortlisted Ruoholahti, Pasila, Kalasatama and Vallila as potential locations for its new office.

“Ruoholahti emerged as our first choice from the perspective of bicycle commuters, those who use public transport as well as those who drive to work. The co-operation network in the area also creates significant synergies,” Jordan adds.        

Finnfund wanted to use the move to a new office space as an opportunity to renew its organisational culture. In practice, this meant shifting from a cubicle office to a more community-oriented multispace office that effectively supports various ways of working. 

Being an organisation that operates on a global scale, Finnfund also considered the Aviapolis area near the airport.

“We considered the movements of our partners and employees and determined that being located near the airport would not have provided any added value for us. When our employees travel, they go to the airport straight from home, and our clients prefer to stay in hotels in the city centre,” Jordan explains.  

Relocation was paired with a brand renewal

Finnfund’s office relocation project coincided with a brand renewal. The goal was to use the move to new premises as an opportunity to renew the organisational culture and switch from a cubicle office to a more community-oriented multispace office.

"The organisation was sensitive to the wishes of employees who felt a sense of uncertainty about the changes."

The organisation was sensitive to the wishes of employees who felt a sense of uncertainty about the changes. High on the wish list were high-quality employee facilities to support active commuting options, good quiet spaces in the office and effective recycling opportunities.

The management wanted a property that has no major renovation needs in the foreseeable future.

The personnel particularly wanted good quiet workspaces in the new office environment. The open workspace is surrounded by as many as 29 soundproofed meeting rooms of different sizes.

Sponda’s Ruoholahden Tähti property ticked all the boxes. As the first office building in Finland to achieve BREEAM In-Use Excellent environmental certification, Ruoholahden Tähti offered a sustainable operating environment for Finnfund as well as an ideal location close to a metro station, shopping centre and the company’s partner network.

Quick and efficient business premises process

Jordan says the business premises process with Sponda got off to a flying start.

“Once we had signed the agreement, the process moved ahead with great efficiency. Our personnel also became enthusiastic about the project once they realised they had a genuine opportunity to influence its outcome,” Jordan explains.

Souvenirs from different parts of the world and wall texts reflect Finnfund’s identity as a sustainable company with a global reach.

Account Manager Eero Junni from Sponda is full of praise for Finnfund’s working group and its quick responses to technical questions and issues pertaining to spatial solutions.

“Making fast progress is easy when the customer knows what they want. The office was modernised in many ways, including the ceiling. Particular focus was placed on comfort, soundproofing and security,” Junni says.

Jordan highlights Sponda’s solution orientation as an important strength. 

Sponda was in charge of managing the business premises project and its architectural design. The interior decoration was created by Frans Design. “Thanks to our professional partners, we achieved an outcome that exceeds our expectations,” says CTO Vesa Jordan.

“When we needed more bicycle parking facilities and storage space, they built it from the ground up according to our wishes instead of clearing out existing spaces. Sponda also created an entirely new storage solution in response to our need for a vault,” Jordan adds.      

Perfect office space in an ideal location

Separate lobbies were created at the office for Finnfund’s clients and personnel. The open workspace is surrounded by 29 soundproofed meeting rooms of different sizes as well as a large and adaptable café area. A rest and massage room was also added for the personnel.

A rest and massage room was included in the new office for the company’s personnel. The colours of the office reflect Finnfund’s new brand identity, starting from the carpets.

The interior design features calming colours that correspond to Finnfund’s brand identity. Souvenirs from developing countries and wall texts reflecting the company’s values add to the ambiance.

“Combining work with other aspects of daily life feels easier here than in the city centre.”

“We have received good feedback on this office space from our personnel as well as our visitors. The meeting rooms and social facilities have been singled out for praise in particular. Many people have also been surprised by the good local services and lunch options. In fact, people feel that getting here and combining work with other aspects of daily life is easier here than in the city centre,” Jordan points out.     

Curtain-like partitions can be used to transform the versatile café and lunch area into a large open space. 

Finnfund’s CTO is also pleased with the building’s shared facilities and services.

“For seminars attended by more than 40 people we can rent meeting space downstairs. The lunch restaurant at the property is also very good, which makes our daily life a lot easier."

The security and soundproofing of the office were particular focus areas for this company with high security risks.  

Few of Finnfund’s employees miss being in the city centre.

“You could say that we got exactly the kind of space we wanted, and being in Ruoholahti has exceeded all of our expectations,” Jordan concludes.  

Sponda, a company that owns and develops commercial properties, was ranked first among Finnish companies in its peer group the property sector’s international GRESB 2018 sustainability benchmark study.Sponda owns six completed office properties in Ruoholahti: Ruoholahden Poijut, Ruoholahden Tähti, Itämerentalo, Ruoholahden Sulka, Tallbergintalo and Ruoholahden Ankkuri.  


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