Smoy - giving up on our own office has increased our freedom
Aplicom is a Finnish telematics technology company that provides professional IoT solutions for telemetry applications. The company operates in almost 50 countries around the world. Aplicom technology provides a platform for telematics, telemetry and IoT systems. Aplicom has had its offices at Workery+ Teurastamo since February 2022.
Interview with Aplicom's Sales Director Filip Langenskiöld.
Hello, Filip! Can you tell us how Aplicom's office space needs have changed during the coronavirus pandemic?
The pandemic has been a real remote work laboratory for all of us. At Aplicom, we had to work completely remotely right from the start, so we sort of went to the other extreme of what we were used to. At first, everything went smoothly and people were happy with the remote work arrangements. Adapting to remote work was made easier by the fact that we had an old-fashioned office in an awkward and somewhat drab location, so no one really missed the office.
However, after working remotely for a while, we began to realise that this was not the optimal solution either, that we couldn't go on like this for very long. So we faced a new question: Where do we go from here? We already suspected that our "new normal" was somewhere between the old and the new.
The question was, how would we arrange our new day-to-day work in the future? We will continue to work remotely, and even if everything returns to normal, sales people will still spend a lot of time visiting customers, which means the desk occupancy rate will not be very high in the future either. However, we still need a home base for our business, where we can meet and work together. As we work as a team, we also need to enable low-threshold communication. We also realised very early on that we no longer needed a traditional paper archive – things work very well digitally.
The company is based and has production facilities in Jyväskylä, but we also need to have an office in the Helsinki region, as we travel a lot and proximity to an international airport is important. We also need presentable conference rooms, which we use regularly. In addition, we have a small sales office in Helsinki.
However, we didn't want to go back to the way things were and continue in the old, already outdated premises, because that would have meant having to manage the whole office infrastructure ourselves. A concept that has the facilities and services already in place without the need for a large office space reservation works best for us. Such concepts are very much on offer today and this was our starting point.
And how did you end up in Workery+ Teurastamo?
We listed things that were important to us, such as having our own home base, where we can meet as a team and where we also meet customers and various partners. In addition, the company's board needed a permanent meeting place. Just renting desks and chairs didn't feel like our thing either, so Workery+ was a strong choice from the start.
Services play an important role in encouraging staff to come to the office and enjoy being there. A good example of an important service is something as simple as the coffee on offer. We like to drink it throughout the day. It's essential that the service is good and you don't have to keep track of who's turn it is to make a brew – not to mention other office services.
It's also really important that we can use the facilities flexibly and schedule meetings quickly. When we meet with partners, the location of the premises is key to ensuring that meetings can be arranged even at short notice.
So how has it been, have you settled in at Teurastamo yet?
We are relatively new members, as it was February 2022 when we moved in. Since then we have been dealing with the coronavirus. We still don't know where the world is going. Whilst settling into the new premises, we have been working remotely most of the time. Nevertheless, the general feeling at the moment is that this was the right decision. Working as a team requires being together, face to face, and we have scheduled our office hours so that we try to be in the office on the same days.
At Teurastamo, we have our own small office space that serves as a home base for us, and when we are all present at the office, we can flexibly use other open plan workstations and meeting rooms in the same premises.
I think we have a good spirit here, both among Workery+ staff and others. The breakfast on Tuesdays and the afterwork on the last Thursday of the month are excellent ideas. It's really great these are organised. The free gym in the premises is also great.
What about room for improvement, is there anything you wish was different?
One of the shortcomings of good office locations in Helsinki is parking. The lack of parking spaces and the high prices is a challenge, even though Helsinki has good public transport and good cycling facilities.