Step to the smart office era – How Haltian adapts to return to the office

Haltian main lobby with Haltian logo

While the year of COVID-19 brought a need for a lot of adjustment, it also created a chance to make something new and rethink the old ways. With most Haltians working from home, the company decided to do a large scale renovation at the Haltian headquarters in Oulu. While at Haltian it has always been possible to work from home when needed, it was now decided to make the hybrid work model even easier by taking on activity-based working as a part of the office design. Here’s how Haltian adapts to return to the office and transformed the Oulu headquarters to fit the future of work.

Making activity-based working possible

The renovation aimed to bring the office to the smart office era, allow more flexibility of work styles, and create inspiring workspaces for all Haltians. The renovation included a full-blown redoing of the ‘old wing’, a new kitchen and lounge area, visual uplift of the entire office, and a step to the smart office area for Haltian with Empathic Building digital twin and activity-based working. To make activity-based working possible at our office, Haltian asked their employees, if they wanted to have a dedicated desk as before, or if they wanted to move to the activity-based working style. In activity-based working, they would book a desk or choose it on the go when they came to the office. This way people can choose a desk that has the equipment they need or that’s in the area they want to work in that day.

Haltian new office break area
The new break area with comfy couches and tons of light

Creating a smart office

The renovation was a great opportunity to start using all the features of Empathic Building digital twin and to make the Haltian headquarters a smart office space.

The new layout was updated into the digital twin, and the Quuppa location tagging was also added so that people can find their colleagues more easily. The Thingsee AIR air quality sensors monitor the air quality of the office in real-time and some newer IoT use cases have also been taken into use with Thingsee BEAM monitoring the fill rates of trash bins and lockers.

Haltian office in Empathic Building smart office
Haltian office in Empathic Building digital twin

Connected also when working remote

With Empathic Building we can also create a feeling of one workplace between everyone working from home, at the office and from our other offices around Finland and around the world! People can ‘check in’ to the Haltian digital twin no matter where they are, and from there it’s easy to check if people are available, on holiday or, for example, doing quiet work. Our team also created the “Emppu Hotel” – a meeting space where people can check in and go from a link to a virtual meeting for a chat.

Hot desking and flexible workspaces

With many new people joining the Haltian team, and the changes in the ways of working, flexible workspaces and hot desking were needed to support different work styles. Like many companies, Haltian too decided to make working from home a permanent part of their operations, with many people returning to work in the so-called hybrid model when the COVID-19 situation eases up. This allowed the creation of more seating and space for those who need to, or wish to work from the office full time.

While open offices make collaboration much easier, there are plenty of tasks that require quiet surroundings and privacy. Therefore, in addition to the meeting rooms, Haltian got two phone booths for phone calls and online meetings. Of course, one can see if a booth or a meeting room is free from the Empathic building, so people would not have to try and check Outlook or walk around finding a free space.

Phone booth at the Haltian office
The phone booths enable meetings and calls in quiet

To make desk finding and booking simple, Thingsee PRESENCE IoT devices were installed underneath the flexible desks. Our Empathic Building then shows the desks as blue when they’re free, purple when they have been recently used, and red when they’re occupied.

hot desking areas at Haltian office, empathic building digital twin
The blue tables are non-assigned desks that you can book when you know you’ll be working at the office

Goodbye to the past

The redoing of the Haltian headquarters has been a long time coming since the wing has been in its old, circa 1998 shape for a long time. In addition, the company has grown quickly with 110+ people in the Oulu office so seating and working design was needed. The end of 2020 finally presented a possibility for the renovation with minimum disturbances for our people. A plan was made to change the wing to match the style of the main office area, as well as give an uplift to the entire office following the new Haltian brand.

office wing during renovation
Plenty of walls were knocked down to create more light and open spaces

To increase the functionality of the office, it was decided that some walls would be knocked down to create easier access between the wing and the rest of the office area. Now, walking from one end of the office to the other won’t take as much time and have so many doors in between!

haltian new office kitchen
The wall from the kitchen was removed to allow easy access to the wing

Haltian look and feel

It was clear that the office needed to look and feel like the Haltian office. So, the Haltian blue was painted on several walls and added to fabrics. Now, the entire office has a unified look.

Haltian blue rooms
The Haltian blue was taken into use in many parts of the new office

The previously mostly unused hallway worked as a storage space. Now, it has brand new walls and closet space for coats and shoes. Another new thing was the decision to not wear outdoor shoes inside and now people can wear their woollen socks (that every Finn loves) or indoor shoes.

Haltian new office hallway

An office fit for present and future

All in all, it’s safe to say that Haltians are very happy with the new office. The new layout, new workspaces and break areas fit the company needs, and also allow a lot of flexibility for the future!

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