Eveliina Miikkulainen started working as a project manager at Solita in May 2021. About a month later, Solita announced that they would set up a coworking office in Joensuu Science Park. The decision and timing were great and we’ll let Miikkulainen tell us why.

Eveliina Miikkulainen, who was working in the IT industry during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, was one of many Finns who stayed at home to work remotely. In the homes, workstation solutions have been creative and have ranged from the sofa corner to the ergonomic tuning of the kitchen table and hurried escapes to the slightly quieter rooms.

– It was the same for me as I was working in the corner of the sofa, often in a terrible position, Eveliina Miikkulainen recalls.

When in 2018 about 30 per cent of Finns occasionally worked remotely, by spring 2021, as many as 60 per cent or about 1.3 million Finns – were working fully remotely.

 

Not such a deep end after all

Founded in 1996, the Finnish technology company Solita now employs more than 1,200 specialists in strategic consulting, service design, software development, analytics, cloud services, and integration. In addition to Finland, the company is also growing steadily in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Belgium, and Germany. In Finland, the company’s customers include DNA, Ponsse, UPM, THL and the Ministry of the Environment.

In the early days of the coronavirus mayhem, many wrestled with the notion of being ‘dropped in the deep end’. How to use Zoom, Teams and webinars had to be learned quickly, and other tools and software updated. At Solita and in the IT industry in general, the use of digital tools and communication methods were smooth from the start.

– The coronavirus era has also changed the way customers think. Remote working has worked well and has been done efficiently for customers. Sure, some customers want their team to return to one place, but in the end fewer want to return to the way things were before, Miikkulainen says.

 

Towards a hybrid model

A guarantee of smooth and efficient work is that projects and contacts are handled in the manner the customer wishes. To make that happen, the team members keep in close contact, and that means that the Slack instant messaging program pings rather frequently. As a project manager, Miikkulainen’s job is to make sure that the right things are done in the projects, at the right time and that the people in the teams are doing well and are happy.

– At Solita, people do their work very independently. Employees have a lot of freedom and there is no micromanagement.

Independence and the opportunity to influence one’s own work is good. From time to time, however, there are situations where we need to consult a colleague and get help to bounce ideas around. Miikkulainen emphasises the importance of open communication.

– The need for face-to-face encounters is evident now that in the last 1.5 years, people have not physically seen each other. We’ve switched to a hybrid model. The so-called ‘placeless’ work has come to stay, but the importance of working together and nurturing community has not disappeared.

 

Opportunities at the Coworking Forum

The Coworking Forum at the Science Park offers the possibility of one kind of hybrid model for Solita. Solita named the coworking space a light office. It serves all the Solita people who work in Joensuu.

– At the moment we have less than ten employees here. But we are a growth company so more recruitment happens all the time, Miikkulainen says.

“A special advantage is that electric desks, monitors and mice are also available for those who come to the Science Park.”

One of the many advantages of the Coworking Forum relates to recruitment situations. According to Miikkulainen, it is an advantage that it is possible to sometimes work away from home.

– Other special advantages at the Science Park are the electric desks, monitors and mice that are also available for those who come to work there. It is effortless and secure to keep in touch with customers in modern and quiet facilities. It wouldn’t be possible to do this work in a busy café as a lot of the time discussions involve customers’ trade secrets.

Miikkulainen is also happy about the lunches that are available during the visits to the Science Park. They make a nice change from home lunches.

– Already during my studies, I learned to appreciate the communality of the Science Park and also the varied and usefulness of the events that were organised there. The corona pandemic of course paused the event offerings, but new events related to the software industry are already in sight. There are plans in motion for organising meetings between the IT business community working in the Science Park.

 

Luxury of variation

Eveliina Miikkulainen still works part-time at home – now in an ergonomically built workstation. Having both options is great, Miikulainen says.

– It is good to cycle three kilometres to the Science Park from time to time. It provides a different feeling than fetching a cup of coffee at home and skipping ten steps upstairs with it. The next step is to find out about the sports opportunities available at the Science Park.

 

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä Ässä Oy
Pictures: Jarno Artika