Tag Archives: office

Elisa equals to afternoon of queuing

Yesterday I returned to the office after holidays. More about the feelings on the Post-holiday blues blog…

Anyway, after writing this post the amazing thing was that the return wasn’t that bad at all. The moment I stepped in the door of our office I remembered that I actually liked my job and my colleagues! Rather simple.

Also there was no caos or stress awaiting me, only suntanned colleagues and a relaxed atmosphere. So, today it was a lot easier to ride the bike to work in the morning.

Although my old anxiety remains, the one that tells that one these days I have to try something of my own… but till that day, and The Big Idea of what I actually want to do, my work is just fine.

However, the only setback at the office was that my work mobile phone (Nokia Lumia 800) had died during the vacation. No sign of life. This meant afternoon of queuing at Elisashopit in the centre of Helsinki. Elisa is one of the two big tele operators in Finland (the other one being Sonera).


I spent about an hour waiting for my turn, with lots of other people. This wasn’t the first time I was doing this in my life, and it’s equally bad when you try to call to Sonera/Elisa customer service. The waiting times are amazingly long! Once again I asked myself the eternal question: why?

This problem has been going on for years so it’s kind of a national joke already. Everyone knows that the service is very very slow.

So would it be a completely unrealistic idea to hire at least one more person for every shop to serve the customers? This would surely make the customer satisfaction rates go up and in the end everyone would be happier – especially the poor customer service staff who have to listen to all the complaints.

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The Best Place to Work

Great Place to Work® just announced the 100 best workplaces in Europe in 2012. They have been making these lists since 2003 and this year more than 1.500 companies from 18 countries participated in the contest.

Multinational companies,  middle-sized and small companies have their own lists. The good news is that a Finnish company called Futurice gained the first prize in the category of small and middle-sized companies. What is so special in them? Or in general: what makes an excellent workplace?

I’ve been pondering this question a lot during the last couple of months, as I’ve been thinking of my future (working) life and where I’d like to see myself. I’ve also noticed quite a few things at my current and previous jobs that could be developed or done in another way – well, each and every workplace has its pros and cons.

The winning companies work in different fields but do have some common features. José Tolovi, Jr., Global Chairman of the Board, writes on the Great Place to Work® webpage that “despite the economic uncertainty in Europe, the 100 Best Workplaces lead the way in demonstrating that creating and maintaining a workplace culture based on trust is good for business.”
“What unites them is strong and visionary leadership and a commitment to creating the kind of workplace where employees trust the management, have pride in what they do and enjoy working with their colleagues. It is these motivated and dedicated employees who are more likely to support the organisation and help companies get through times of economic uncertainty.”

I certainly agree! Trust is the key issue – like in any relationship. Without trust there’s nothing. Talking with my friends about their work experiences, I would say in most of the workplaces the trust missing or at least is not on the level where it should be. The boss doesn’t trust his employees, who get frustrated and feel that they are treated like children. For return, they don’t trust the boss and think that he has bad intentions. This is where everything fails. If you’re not being trusted, you don’t feel ownership of the company and in the end nobody wants to take responsability of anything. And that’s really bad.

Futurice staff receiving the prize for the Best Workplace.

As to Futurice, sure the employees enjoy some special benefits there like having breakfast together once a week, a billiard board and, naturally, a sauna at the office. All these are nice examples of taking the employee’s wellbeing seriously, but of course the true reasons of success lie behind the surface.

One Futurice employee comments that important aspects are the open culture and that you don’t have to be a boss to be able to influence in things. Another employee says that the company has a great spirit of doing things. Sure: things get done fast when you have motivated workers!

Openness, innovatiness, love. For Futurice these 3 things are considered essential for leading a company. Sounds good to me.

In a good workplace people work because they want to and because they feel appreciated, not to please the boss. (Ok, maybe occasionally…)

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Office work – more freedom, please!

Today’s 3 main topics have been volunteering, weather and – not that surprisingly – office work. (Well, I also had a great sauna, but more about that later…)

First, this morning I had a radio interview about volunteering for the national Yle Radio Suomi, as tomorrow we’ll organise an event where people looking for volunteer work and NGOs looking for volunteers meet. The idea is nice, and Finland actually is the promised country of NGOs – there is one for almost every purpose you can imagine!

The interview went fine, they said. Even if being in the studio and thinking of thousands of people listening makes you feel a bit strange…

All in all, Finnish people volunteer a lot, sometimes without even noticing: in NGOs, sports clubs, school associations, helping the old lady next door by bringing her milk from the supermarket. One in every four Finns volunteers and 50% of those who don’t would like to do something. Nice numbers, but there is still a lot to do – for a better world!

Cold and snowy Helsinki - this one is from 2010. Credit: Hannes Heikura, Helsingin Sanomat

Today’s second topic has been the weather. In brief, it’s -15C (or even colder with the chilly wind!) in Helsinki today. Luckily it’s also sunny and pretty with all that bright snow.

Stress Reduction Kit

We also have one of these at the office... just in case.

And then to the MAIN topic – work in the office! This evening I met two friends in a cafe of Ateneum Art Museum and we talked about work. We are all loaded with “interesting” tasks and projects. So we got some ideas to make our lives a bit nicer:

1. Office life. Do you know the UK series The Office? Well, it results that our respective offices (like I guess most of the offices in the world) have their “special character”. So, it would be great to film or at least record in the meetings and situations and maybe also to write a book about the a bit absurd aspects of office life. Unfortunately I guess we would be thrown out of the office before finishing the story…

Why not, if the work is done?

2. Working hours. Luckily my office is quite flexible and we are allowed to work from home – like I did today. But  we also have clock cards and our working hours calculated. It’s my first job with this system. After the initial shock I got used to it – even if I’m quite a free soul. Actually it’s nice to notice the hours slowly accumulating – and then you can have a longer weekend to compensate.

Anyway, why can’t it be so that when the daily work is done, you’d be free to go? People have different rhythms, some are early birds and some… well, are not.

3. Physical presence in the office. I’ve been seriously thinking about the necessity to stay in the office 8 hours a day. Why? I do no costumer service and all the information I need is online. So if there are no meetings, there are no real reasons for staying in the office.

I read a great blog (in Finnish) on how the sometimes archaic office rules should be updated. One of these rules is the physical presence of the employee. We would be a lot happier working from home, cafes, museums, parks, from a paradise island – wherever YOU’d want to! Especially for jobs that require creativity and concentration this is essential.

Well, maybe it takes some time to introduce these ideas but in many places they are already doing it… I really hope we’d get some changes before I get retired!


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