“From 2 May to 29 July, SJSC “State Real Estate” (SRE) opens up its activity-based office at 1 Talejas Street in Riga to anyone working at public institutions and state capital companies. The pilot project of SRE aims to facilitate introducing co-working space and hybrid work models for public institutions in the context of the working environment going through post-pandemic changes, and to enhance the efficiency of the state administration in collaboration with the Innovation Laboratory of the State Chancellery,” says SRE Board Member Mr Andris Vārna.
Institutions that have started the process of changing the working environment are supported at the SRE office under the pilot project for the co-working process of the state administration. The project aims to identify the demand for co-working offices in the public sector, and also to understand the motivation and necessity for their use. This is the first time that this unique opportunity has been offered to the public sector, which is a step towards introducing the concept of the working environment in the public sector and more effective use of the office space in the future. Anyone working at public institutions and state capital companies is invited to gain co-working experience. In the first weeks following the launch of the project in May, more than 150 guest employees have spent their working days at the SRE office. This opportunity has been seized by several ministries, including the Ministry of Economics, Agriculture, Justice, Education and Science, and Health. Subordinate institutions, such as the Central Finance and Contracting Agency, the Rural Support Service, State Revenue Service, the company for maintaining roads “Latvijas autoceļu uzturētājs” and other companies have also paid a visit. The SRE office has now been adapted to provide everyone with a working day that is wholesome by using individual and co-working areas, conference and rest rooms. For everyone working in the public sector, the co-working pilot project is a focused step towards realising the concept of a smart working environment in the state administration and developing a modern working culture.
“Co-working spaces and activity-based offices have been the burning issue at a global scale even before the pandemic; however, the way people work has changed permanently throughout it and this is why it is necessary to change and adapt the existing space in order to meet the needs of the institutions and employees in the future. SRE has received several requests to assist in the implementation of managing the changes in the office and to raise awareness for employees from other institutions. SRE carries out consultations, analyses buildings and the needs of their users, offers the most appropriate solutions for co-working and steps for its introduction,” notes the SRE Board Member Mr Andris Vārna. “The work in the state administration has an impact on the everyday life of everyone in Latvia; therefore, it is crucial that motivated professionals work in a modern working environment. The COVID-19 pandemic was a period where we had to adjust swiftly and we all had to find approaches for work organisation that were not used a lot before. Now we can take advantage of the lessons learnt and move to a model that is most appropriate for employees and managers where the objective and result are put at the forefront,” says the Director of the State Chancellery Mr Jānis Citskovskis.
The Director for the Human Resources Department of the State Land Service, Ms Sarmīte Lūse, shares her experience of her working day at the activity-based office where she, together with another 3 employees, tested the benefits of an activity-based working environment. “SRE is a modern and well-thought-out office. We see that such activity-based office may also be introduced by the State Land Service by adjusting it to the specific nature of our work. Such offices are our future; this pandemic has shown that we can also work remotely and that the office space may be used when specifically needed.”
Representatives from the institutions may apply for co-working at the SRE office, 1 Talejas Street in Riga, online at kopstrade.vni.lv by registering with a minimum of one day's notice; following your registration you will receive confirmation and information on your arrival.
SRE provides for the possibility of also offering its office to public institutions for co-working in the future, thereby promoting the more effective use of the space, environmentally friendly resource consumption, and also financial savings in the state budget. Such service, amongst others, further develops the concept of a smart working environment in the public sector, which was initiated last year when SRE established the “Guidelines on Creating the Office in the Public Sector”. This document serves as a handbook for introducing a smart working environment where SRE includes its own and international experience, setting out the factors of a smart working environment that facilitate a smarter way of working, which are the following: using digital tools when working remotely and at the office, adaptability by ensuring working areas that are modular and multi-functional, an inclusive and improved environment reflecting in-house culture, and others.
SRE is the first successful example of an institution’s work being more productive and effective in an activity-based office, after making a move from three buildings to one at the end of 2019. First of all, it leads to savings in the state budget, and also has positive effects on the climate by reducing the total area used in the office by 45%, the number of work stations by 30%, and by saving 900 thousand euros on maintaining facilities over 5 years. Already today, the total reduction in consumption of thermal energy and electricity is 65%. Second of all, the change in the working environment has a direct impact on the well-being of the employees, as well as the attraction indicator that reached 75 index points last year and is well above the average in the public sector. The design for an activity-based office helps with integration in the team as well as improves the exchange of information and co-operation between the structural units.
SJSC “State Real Estate”. The company provides professional real estate management and administration for approximately 365 real estate properties consisting of 1100 buildings with a total floor area of 0.95 million square metres, along with land beneath the buildings covering 602 hectares and more than 3536 land properties with an area of 903 hectares. SRE is one of 23 Latvian companies that has received the highest platinum award as part of the Sustainability Index of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, confirming the good governance and sustainability of its operations. The company was founded in 1996 and is 100% owned by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia.