What makes a good business centre, and do you really want to build JUST a business centre? This is what the reality tells us.

Many of us spend a large portion of our days at work. The research shows that on average a person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, which equals 1/3 of your life. Add on some time spent commuting, and the number will be, indeed, impressive. 

Today’s global trend is to be fast and mobile. We do not have that extra luxury to go back and forth, when every hour is scheduled for meetings and all sorts of appointments, and your phone calendar makes sure to send you reminders to be on time. Moreover, if in the past practices such as remote work (who has not ever spent an hour or two working from a coffee shop?), online meetings, off-site workshops and sessions, were not really a thing, today these all have become a new normal. And this new normal requires some structural adjustments when it comes to planning working spaces and work-life experiences. 

These two life aspects combined: our working life, our private life, bring a challenge to HRs and managers as well as to urban planners and commercial property developers. 

  • How can you cultivate overall wellbeing at work?
  • What can make my space more attractive?
  • What can improve life and work satisfaction and convenience?
  • How can I retain a tenant?
  • How can I retain an employee?
  • How can my spaces bring higher profit?

These and many other questions have long been dwelled upon by developers, property agents, and the companies themselves. Traditional office leases are changing, and so are the needs of companies. 

Business centres need more than just offices.

Today, people care about sustainability and ecology like never before. Of course, first as a developer you would want to ensure that your business centre would provide all essential amenities: offices, tech-equipped meeting rooms, cafeteria, reception, parking lot, but what your tenants would appreciate and what would make them stay goes way beyond these. 

Ruoholahti neighbourhood in Helsinki from above: the example of the area with the high connectivity level. We Land Ruoholahti business center in the middle.

Coming back to where we started: people spend 1/3 of their lives at work. It means that people seek to have and to be in a convenient, sustainable, service-diverse environment with high connectivity. In addition, as a developer you should think about how your project improves the overall attractiveness of the area and how it fits into the existing infrastructure. 

Time to build holistic urban environments. 

So what makes a good  business centre? 

The trend today is to build wholesome environments that include greenery, leisure spots, event venues, groceries, and even nurseries for active working parents, in addition to office spaces. An “environment” means that your property should naturally integrate into the city infrastructure, enhance its liveability, and serve people: office workers, visitors, and area dwellers. This approach does not only potentially multiply your revenue streams by increasing the service diversity but also attracts more visits outside regular office hours. 

Staying relevant with data.

Data helps you to anticipate the needs and sense the dynamic of the project area in which you would like to build your business environment. When starting to plan, evaluating existing service diversity and accessibility can enable you to map out high priority services. Meanwhile, crowd insights and people flow data can help you to identify existing issues in connectivity and spot vacant underused plots. 

Modern technologies today allow developers and people instantly connect to collect real-time feedback and gather urban ideas. Source: CHAOS crowd mobile app by CHAOS 

As the project proceeds, combining your project’s needs with existing open data, for example, transportation or sustainability data will let you navigate the right direction of development. Adopting a data-driven approach means that data and hard-facts will assist you in decision-making and building strategies throughout the whole lifecycle of your project. 

Co-creating and validating.

We Land Ruoholahti business environment by NCC, the example of development of services and area repurposing

Some may think that this all is some kind of theoretical recommendations and in reality everything works in a different way and with a different pace. In some cases, yes. The digitalisation is only starting to permeate all aspects of property development and commercial real estate (#PropTech and #CreTech), but the benefits and potential of data and forecasts shall not be underestimated. 

Currently, NCC Finland is developing an innovative office environment We Land Ruoholahti that encapsulates high service culture, green values, and growth thinking. We Land will be built to meet the demands of the Ruoholahti residents, including those working in the area and passing by it every day. 

In retail, we focus not only on the building’s functions but also on finding the right service mix that will attract people to spend their time there and how to arrange their daily routines smoothly and purposefully. At the conceptual planning of We Land we have pondered over how the building would serve the different businesses and ways of working, also trying to put our finger on what We Land could bring to the entire area, what it would offer to the residents and what would appeal to them,” shares Heikki Alén, Senior Developer at NCC. 

Crowd insights results on the We Land Ruoholahti service preferences provided by CHAOS essentials

Through collaboration with CHAOS, NCC is able to analyse the needs of Ruoholahti users in real time, access the trends within certain demographic groups, and look at crowd analytics to base building decisions upon.  Eelis Rytkönen Urban Developer-hippie at NCC, has shared that with the help of CHAOS crowd app, NCC has been able to validate initial concepts and choose the ones to go for:

”For example, in the case of We Land, there have been multiple options in how to utilise the first floor of the centre, and by reaching out to the citizens, such decisions can be made easily. Moreover, you as a developer will be sure that you allocate the right space for the exact right service that is in demand by people. In this case, will be able to create a more inclusive city, when we convert the citizens’ responses and ideas into valuable insights, and nurtured with the trends of the area.”

We Land makes Ruoholahti one of Helsinki’s most attractive headquarters’ area transforming it into a vibrant and breathing environment, and together with CHAOS, NCC aims to bring high levels of sustainability, inclusion, service diversity, and connectivity into the area. 

  • To learn more about the use of data in commercial and retail property development, come to the session held by Natalia Rincon, CEO of CHAOS, during ReCoTech. 

Presentation Time: Wednesday, 20th of November, 10:10 am – 10:25 am

If you would like to have a meeting with us during ReCoTech, book us via Brella, or get in touch with Charlotta Avellan, Sales Director at CHAOS, charlotta.avellan@chaosarchitects.com

  • To learn more about We Land Ruoholahti, you can get in touch with Eelis Rytkönen, Urban Developer-hippie, NCC,  eelis.rytkonen@ncc.fi, or come to listen to his presentation during ReCoTech about urban digital user experience. 

Presentation Time: Wednesday, 20th of November, 10:30 – 10:45