Open planning helps you to fit into the team
An environment that allows you to work efficiently and organise your own working time
Balance of work and private life
Possibilities of remote work
A work environment that promotes physical and emotional health
More convenient collaboration with employees of different levels
A well-designed and functional work environment focuses on the results of individual employees and the entire team. It is a set of conditions that allows people to achieve the best results. It provides flexible, suitable conditions for everyone and allows them to work in different ways in different places. Modern work environment solutions facilitate cooperation, allow people to organise time more efficiently and work more successfully in the team.
We are convinced that public administration institutions should strive for the useful and efficient use of real estate and creation of an optimal working environment, which results both in increased productivity and a smoother exchange of information and knowledge.
The public sector is a large and serious employer, so it is important for everyone who works in it to achieve the goals set by the institution. Appropriate, comfortably furnished and modern equipped premises for the performance of work duties are as important a factor as a decent wage. We are convinced that working in modern premises suitable for organisational needs benefits all - their users, building owners and the state as a whole!
The development of functional and sustainable offices and other joint use areas in the public sector is also envisaged in the Action Plan for the Transition to a Circular Economy for 2020-2027 approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. This means that guidelines for the gradual implementation of common, sustainable principles in the offices of public sector bodies need to be developed in the coming years. Taking our experience and knowledge into account, we are ready to cooperate with the State Chancellery in creating a conceptual document.
We expect that modernising the office environment in the public sector would lead to savings of up to 20% in financial resources, including lower management and utility bills, more efficient use of room, a reduction in the number of square metres required per employee, and achieving higher energy efficiency.
A modern office is not a specific type of office space arrangement - neither a cabinet model, nor an open or activity-based office. It is a change of approach - workspaces are becoming a tool that helps people achieve company goals and work productively. Namely, the office layout is determined by the company's (institution's) strategies and plans for the next five years.
SRE by evaluating local and international practices in cooperation with the State Chancellery and the Government Property Agency has developed guidelines for the establishment of a Public Sector Office, which provides a detailed insight into creating a smart work environment, promoting employee well-being and influencing the company's internal culture, work proceses, tasks and benefiting goal achieving in the long-term. The summary of standards provides information on the implementation of a sustainable, safe and modern work environment, the necessary digital tools, design approach, zoning and use of premises, as well as construction regulations and technical standards used in the Republic of Latvia. The guidelines are available to anyone to draw inspiration from and take the necessary information.
Our first pilot project was the relocation of SRE to common premises at Talejas iela 1. The company is ready to share its experience in creating a sustainable and modern work environment, employee involvement, and to share the benefits of working in an activity-based office. Our specialists can help any public sector institution to create the most appropriate and effective work environment solution, according to its needs.
At the end of 2019, SRE moved from three different addresses to new premises at Talejas iela 1, which are equipped as activity-based offices. It was a large and complex project, because at the same time there was a transition to an activity-based office and also people who had previously been located at three different addresses - Vaļņu iela 28, Mucenieku iela 3 and Smilšu iela 1 - started working together in the same premises.
We currently work on three floors and also in the premises of the customer service centre. The functional layout of the premises on each floor consists of ten zones, starting from the floor administrator's workplace to a child-friendly work area. The layout includes zones for individual work that require concentration, as well as collaboration zones for effective teamwork. The employee selects the zone suitable for the performance of the specific job.
Importantly, when planning the new office, we did not design a simple work environment, but employee experience that would allow us to be productive. Therefore, we identified the company's needs, analysed the work organisation and processes, set goals, priorities and created an action plan. An internal study on workload found that 29% of desks are not used at all on a daily basis. We found out what is necessary for people in the office to feel good and achieve better results.
First of all, the implementation of the activity-based office was supported by the management (Board) of SRE, thus also showing a personal example. Board members gave up personal offices and now work together in one room. To create the action plan, we set up a working group with people from different departments.
We involved employees in the planning of the new work environment. We consider this to be one of the success factors of relocation. The visual materials of the project with all deadlines and tasks to be performed were publicly available to all employees, and we also maintained a current question and answer site on the intranet. We also met with all departments, discussed the concept of the activity-based office, the planned layout of the premises, people's usual work practices, answered all questions and dispelled people's concerns. People are interested in all sorts of work organisation issues, and it is hard to even imagine some of the practical problems at first glance. Employees were involved in various relocation works, such as relocating houseplants, testing office chairs, participating in a competition for the best names for meeting rooms.
An important aspect is the use of modern technologies. We reviewed work processes and made significant investments in technologies, providing employees with laptops, smartphones and a suitable internet connection. We improved the circulation of electronic documents, and introduced eSignature, thus reducing paper consumption by 30%. We also trained employees on how to properly use the tools needed for remote work. These investments paid off very quickly, when in 2020, due to the restrictions introduced due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 90% of SRE employees were able work remotely.
The transition to an activity-based office means a significant change in thinking and habits, so it is very important to create new rules of the “game” of working together that are acceptable to everyone - agreeing on rules of conduct and models of collaboration. About six months before the relocation, flexible and remote working time policy was developed and implemented. Prior to the relocation, an Office etiquette workshop was held, during which topics relevant to working in an activity-based office were discussed, namely on the “clean desk” policy and rotation of work places, on confidential work and the need to focus, on noise and disturbing situations that cause it, on office order, meals and eating habits, on flexible, remote work and the necessary preconditions for it.
Finally, after the move, we measured employee satisfaction with the new office and assessed the overall benefits. A study of employee involvement and efficiency conducted at the end of 2019 revealed that employees have a positive opinion about the equipment provided by SRE for efficient work, including the work environment.