Unique restaurant concept to Tuultenristi
OP Uusimaa is merging its Tapiola locations and moving to Tapiola’s Tuultenristi in the summer of 2023. Why was this decision made and what are OP’s expectations for its future head office? An interview with Hannu Ujula, Senior Vice President, Head of Business Support at OP.
The need for new facilities became pressing in August 2022 when three OP cooperative banks, OP Uusimaa, OP Itä-Uusimaa and OP Helsinki, merged to form OP Uusimaa. With the merger, both the service selection and the number of personnel grew and became the largest in OP Financial Group, offering a wide range of services for personal and corporate customers.
We have an office for basic services in Tapiola next to the shopping centre. With the merger, we had to decide whether to develop the existing facilities in a direction more suited for our current configuration or whether to search for new facilities. The existing premises no longer met the needs of modern services and would have required a considerable overhaul. On the other hand, we had excellent, modern facilities for our asset management and insurance services in Revontulenpoisto and did not necessarily need or want to move out of those premises. However, staying in Revontulenpuisto would have meant that our personnel would have been stuck between two locations which would not support our business operations in the long term. Cooperation between business functions is important so that we can provide better services to our customers.
Neither facility could have accommodated our entire personnel. We also wanted to ensure that all customers could easily visit us, and Revontulenpuisto seemed a bit remote for that purpose. Based on these facts, we started to search for new, easy-to-reach facilities with excellent transport connections.
We constantly plan our office network as it is important for us to be in the middle of customer streams. We cooperate with an external partner to analyse customer streams and the placement of businesses in different areas. Initially, we were examining the Espoo region on a wider scale, but a detailed analysis showed that the Tapiola area is experiencing strong growth and is highly accessible with several modes of transport from various directions. Moreover, Tapiola’s customer stream potential is on the rise as there are large numbers of new housing and jobs being planned for Otaniemi and Keilaniemi, for example. The brand of the centre of Tapiola has also benefitted from development and appears interesting and attractive.
Guided by our location strategy, we started searching for easily accessible facilities in Tapiola that could acccommodate the services offered by OP Uusimaa under the same roof.
We prepared a workstation plan to assess our furniture needs, and it was interesting to discover that our plan is in obvious need of tweaking to meet the requirements of modern working life. At the beginning of the year, we will launch a project where we will discuss the elements needed for the Tuultenristi facilities with the employees to build an optimal hybrid model for working at the office and from home. The suitability of the working areas should be assesses regularly to ensure that they support the work and the cooperation between functions and that the employees feel comfortable and productive. The most functional solutions are individual as different tasks must also be taken into consideration in the planning; other tasks are better performed in smaller team rooms while others require more open-plan areas that support a sense of community. We also need space to be social as well as quiet spaces where we can concentrate. Spatial planning and optimization is an on-going process that I like to call service design for business premises.
They are directly related to business operations—it is important for us to fulfil our business objectives. Tuultenristi and the Tapiola center is an attractive area that provides us with more local visibility and, consequently, increased activity in the area. We believe in the potential of the area with regard to the growth of private and corporate customers.
Our objective is to increase the rate of usage of the premises. For example, in specialist work, teams need cohesion and to learn from each other, which is why personal interactions are important. I believe that the new, magnificent business premises next to great transport connections will attract personnel better than the old, run-down premises. We hope that the personnel will enjoy the premises and learn how to use them as diversely as possible in order to promote the efficient use of space and the performance of work.
Sustainability is one of our values, which is apparent in our selection of premises in that all of our partners must fulfil certain sustainability criteria.
It also supports sustainability that our locations are selected with easy access in mind, for example, in transport hubs and next to good public transport connections. With regard to our actual operations, we comply with the Green Office principles.