Designing Our New Oulu Office

by Nina Hyvärinen

Posted November 29 3 min read

As the first snow blanket covers the trees and streets, and the morning chills reminds us of the oncoming winter, I reflect back to Spring of 2017.

  One of the things that I love about working at CDK is the opportunities given to get involved with things that are different to my day job. I was previously an Engagement Champion for three years, and have always been eager to take part in projects that have an impact on my colleagues. So when I was asked to get involved with the project of designing our new office, I was more than happy to jump on board. 

  In April, the project of moving our office to the other side of town was in the phase were we had our first tour of the new space and started discussions regarding team sizes, working culture, and meeting room requirements. Our furniture provider had the office digital blueprint and came onboard to help us design and arrange the office layout.

  The Challenge

  The lease was signed for an office space in Teknologiakylä campus next to Oulu University and is surrounded by roughly 250 other companies. As we were moving to an open plan office, from an office with cubicles and own rooms, there were many things we had to consider. We needed to minimize hard surfaces, use sound absorbent materials such as carpets, have “phone booths” for confidential phone calls etc.

  I created a Pinterest board with various ideas… environmental designs from various designers, modern office ideas, fun working places, co-working places etc. This was a mind map or a vision of what our office could look like. Having previously been involved in facilities management I knew that there were also statutory requirements to consider… services, electricity, IT, ventilation, colours.

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The Process

  I started having weekly meetings with our furniture provider where we gave them our requirements. In addition to desks for all employees, we needed meeting rooms with different seating arrangements, meeting rooms to accommodate visitors and walk in meeting rooms for agile work. The cafeteria would need to have enough seating places for our monthly meetings, but which would also work day to day as a lounge and cafeteria for different groups of people. And the most important thing was to remember to create an office that would minimize noise distractions.  

After a month we had a plan which was shared with colleagues and managers and, after some amendments and additions, was approved. The new office would have a large lounge that would be used for lunches, monthly meetings and ad-hoc collaboration. We would have walk in meeting rooms with blue carpets and normal meeting rooms with green ones. Colorful phone booths and big soundproof chairs would enable privacy and for performing tasks that needed concentration. Most importantly the seating places were comfortable and they had sound-absorbing dividers.

    The Outcome

  The renovation started in May and after two months we moved in. So far, the feedback from my colleagues has been positive. We have settled in very well and have started to get a feel for the different working environments and how best use the space available.

  It gives me joy to write this article from our new lounge, sitting by the window and looking out to the trees slowly swaying in the autumn wind. Winter is coming.

Here are some photos of the journey…

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