Schibsted Media Group’s online marketplace Tori.fi relocated to a premium property designed by Eliel Saarinen in central Helsinki. Creative professionals have found a popular meeting place in the building’s own café, operated by the founders of Good Life Coffee Bar in Kallio.
A café with baristas creates an inspiring and warm first impression of Tori’s new premises on Keskuskatu. The café also plays an important role as a meeting place for people who work on different floors.
“Separate floors tend to create divides between people. We wanted our new premises to have a fixed point that inspires everyone and is easy for everyone to come to. Having our own café helps us ensure that our people meet each other. Meetings and human relationships determine the success of the firm,” says Juha Meronen, General Manager of Tori.
Schibsted Group is thirsty for growth in Finland
“The parent group’s brands are now all at the same address, and there’s also room for growth. For Schibsted, Finland is an interesting growth market,” Meronen says.
The former premises in the Fennia block began to get crammed when Tori’s number of personnel doubled.
“There are 50 of us now, but I expect that number to grow substantially in the coming years. We may eventually need more floor space,” Meronen adds.
To compare, the Group’s corresponding service in Norway has 400 employees.
Cosy shoes-off atmosphere improves the vibe
The premises in this premium property, located across the street from Stockmann, have been carefully renovated. The newly built interior stairs connect workspaces and make it easy to move between floors. The general appearance of the workspace is bright and spacious.
No one has a dedicated workstation. Everyone chooses their place based on what they’re doing and what they feel like. The finance department is working casually on light-coloured sofas next to windows.
Hanging wicker chairs next to the stairs are popular spots for independent work.
With the exception of the large meeting room, the atmosphere is cosy and casual. Exercise balls, a ping pong table and table hockey stations add to the sense of an informal company culture. The homely atmosphere is increased by the employees’ habit of walking around with no shoes on.
“Shoelessness often provokes strong reactions in our international colleagues. People from the Mediterranean region, for example, find it very odd. Our decisions are aimed at stripping work of excessive seriousness and promoting a positive vibe that inspires creative professionals,” Meronen explains.
Teams meet in market stalls and people plank regularly
To facilitate teamwork, there are small meeting rooms for expert teams to hold organised meetings. Tori’s employees refer to their teams as market stalls.
“Market stalls are expert teams with a specific goal. The new premises support our flexible and project-oriented approach to work. The content of a project often determines where the team establishes its home base,” Meronen says.
In addition to being organised into market stalls and walking around with no shoes on, Tori’s employees also plank regularly. Every Monday and Friday after the morning meetings, employees get together to plank, which means holding their bodies elevated while being supported only by their feet and forearms.
“When you’re in good shape, your mind is refreshed and ideas come thick and fast. Inspiring and comfortable premises and good indoor air quality also affect well-being at work. We’ve seen a decrease in sick leave,” Meronen adds.
“Who speaks on the phone these days?”
The telephone booths often featured in multispace office environments are nowhere to be seen at Tori’s office. Employees use online communications and talk face to face. Using mobile phones for calls is less common.
“Who speaks on the phone these days?” Meronen asks, but adds that the office space is always being developed further. For example, if there’s a need for telephone booths, they can be put in on short notice.
“Our approach to the development of our workspace is based on the same Lean Startup method we use to develop our business. We experiment with and test new things and refine those that work,” Meronen concludes.