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New culture, new office

Telia is using an intelligent office management system from FlowScape to facilitate its move from a fixed desk environment to a flexible, activity-based workplace

In June 2016, Telia Company, a telecommunications provider in Sweden and Finland, moved its head office and 3,500 employees into a new building with half as much office space, downsizing from 85,000 square metres to just 42,000.

Flexible, activity-based workplace
Flexible, activity-based workplace

The company changed from a fixed desk environment into an activity-based workplace, where people share desks and can choose between several types of work environment depending on what they need to do.

Speaking in a webinar organised by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Telia’s head of architecture IT/AT Mats Mägiste said: “One of the biggest issues we have as an old-fashioned, 160-year old operator is that we have to adapt to a new generation of people with new demands.”

Telia’s own research found that 80% of employees under the age of 30 consider flexibility a key factor in the choice of employer.

No fixed workplaces
Adopting the mantra ‘work is not a place, it is something we do’, the company decided that staff should be able to select where to work depending on the experience they want. There are now no fixed workplaces, but instead, different areas to suit the various levels of concentration required.

These include distinct environments for meetings, collaboration and concentration, plus the ‘coffice’, a more relaxed space with coffee machines and seating.

All these areas have different sound levels, different furniture and a different work experience. “The focused area is a silent area. There are no signs saying this, but the furniture is placed in a way that people should understand what it’s meant for,” explained Mägiste.

Telia’s new agile, activity-based working culture is underpinned by investment in IT and technology, including a paperless strategy and portable work tools so that people can move easily between different areas of the building or work from home if preferred.

Conference rooms are kitted out with collaboration devices like the Cisco MX700 and Sennheiser speakerphones.

Going with the flow
To unlock the full potential of this new way of working, Telia is using state-of-the-art indoor positioning technology developed by FlowScape to collect and analyse data about room usage and the flow of people around an office.

Paperless strategy and portable work tools
Paperless strategy and portable work tools

A key feature of the FlowScape solution is the Flow Map, a digital replica of the office designed to give employees greater visibility of the workplace and its facilities. This map, viewable on touchscreen Room Panels or via an app, gives an overview of all conference rooms and other spaces, such as phone booths.

Linked to a room booking system, it shows:

Available meeting rooms or desks in green;

Booked meeting rooms in red;

Non-bookable rooms (e.g. phone booths), which automatically turn yellow when someone enters them; and

Important equipment, such as printers and projectors.

To book a free meeting room, all anyone has to do is click the appropriate space on the office map. This can be done on a panel or through the app, which allows people in other Telia offices to reserve a room remotely before visiting head office.

Other useful features for a business in which people no longer have allocated desks are:

FlowScape move's from a fixed desk environment
FlowScape move’s from a fixed desk environment

Colleague Finder, which minimises time wasted trying to find the right person and increases collaboration among colleagues and departments. A map shows the real time location of work mates and whether they are occupied. Invisible mode lets staff choose not to be seen on the map if, for example, they want to work without interruption; and

Housekeeper, which communicates equipment failure reports to everyone in the office. Employees can easily report non-functioning equipment and add an explanation of what is wrong. As soon as a report is sent, a warning symbol pops up on the Flow Map, alerting the responsible caretaker and acting as a warning to colleagues. This speeds up the process of repairing devices and stops people from attempting to use faulty equipment.