WOW transformed the working culture for Fortum

Net 2019,  2019-06-04

The WOW project (Ways of Working) has dissolved the organizational boundaries at Fortum and introduced the multispace office and mobile knowledge work to the working culture. During the project, the office desks were turned into modern, ergonomic spaces where no time is wasted in adjustments but where work can begin immediately.

About three years ago, Fortum was facing major changes, with a new CEO and an operating environment that had, quite unnoticeably, gone through some significant changes.

Global mega trends, such as global warming, urbanization and energy efficiency, have a profound impact on the entire energy sector. The today’s customers are in many ways aware and active consumers. At the same time, digitalization and new technologies bring new challenges – but new opportunities, too.

The company found a shift in the working culture to be a necessary move.

”With the world changing around us, we could no longer continue sitting around in our organizational silos. The more than 8,000 Fortum employees had to be brought into interaction with each other and to start innovating and thinking in a new, creative way that transcends the organizational boundaries. It was our ambition to bring even all the subject-specific experts – who are numerous in Fortum – into a closer contact with the community,” says IT Manager Niklas Andersson from Fortum Business IT Services unit (on the right).

WOW brought down walls and built up meeting places

The WOW, aka Fortum Ways of Working project saw the light of day. WOW dissolved the organizational boundaries, bringing a whole new kind of flexibility to the working culture. Moreover, it offered casual meeting spaces, places for conversations, and new extra-curricular activities, such as opportunities for exercising. The staff in Espoo moved from the tower at Keilaniemi to a new office building, reducing the office space need by as much as 60 per cent.

”We encouraged people to mobility, which was a fundamental change compared to our previous policy. Our staff really appreciated the new flexibility. Occupational wellness increased as people no longer had to sit at their desks for eight hours solid. It proved to be a fertile ground for strengthening innovative thinking and creativity, which in turn stimulates growth.”

The new digital tools were deployed to support agile and speedy exchange of information. Remote connection via Skype became the default in all meetings, which allowed the formation of functional virtual teams. The shift in practices was further accelerated by a training program, which is still in progress.

Usability and ergonomics in key focus


All the desks in the multispace office were redesigned. Service Manager Jussi Lehto is sitting at his new desk. He is responsible for workstations and email services at Fortum.

”When one office desk standard has to lend itself to the needs of more than 8,000 users, it needs to be really good and well thought-out. Together with Fujitsu, we drew up a shared vision of what the desk has to look like. Usability and ergonomics became the top priorities. No time must be wasted on adjustments,” Andersson says.

The new desks of Fortum specialists are adjustable and the chair is ergonomically designed and easily adjustable. The workstation is via a USB port connected to a dock with three additional USB ports. Employees have a fixed network connection and an ergonomically designed keyboard and mouse. On top of it all, they have a 2x24-inch Fujitsu dual monitor.

Following the Clean desk model, all cables and power cords are hidden, maximizing the working space. ”You can start working in a few seconds after your laptop is connected to the dock,” Andersson says.

The WOW model has been deployed in Finland and over the course of next year it will reach the offices in Oslo and Stockholm with all in all more than one thousand employees.

”We will continue implementing the WOW-related IT measures for the duration of this year and the next. The fine tuning of desks and meeting spaces will be conducted on a global level, as well as unification of support services and technology in meeting spaces. We will also continue with our training program, both for the management and the entire staff,” Andersson sums up.

Fortum is a leading clean-energy company developing and offering solutions for customers in electricity, heating, cooling, as well as solutions to improve resource efficiency. They also provide services for the power generation industry and solutions for consumers so that they can be smarter in their energy choices. Fortum employs 8,300 professionals in the Nordic countries, Russia, Poland and India.

The story is based on Niklas Andersson’s presentation at Fujitsu World Tour in May 2019.

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Published in the Net Magazine 2019,  2019-06-04

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