Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the development of digitalisation at workplaces has leaped several years forward in time over just a few months. Castellum knew that work life was facing changes, and had long been working to meet the demands of tomorrow’s workplace. And it’s here today.
New generations expect smarter solutions, more rewarding partnerships, greater flexibility, and better possibilities for living both personally and professionally. These are the conclusions from Castellum’s “Tomorrow’s workplace” study, a report presented this spring on how factors such as the millennial generation’s drivers and values will influence their expectations of employers in the near future.
Working life changed overnight
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, flexible working life quickly became the new normal, with new demands for the content of what could be referred to as a workplace. For most companies, working remotely was a simmering trend that essentially exploded when the pandemic broke out. At Castellum, it was a well-tested form of work that was now being scaled up. This trend was supported by strong drivers in the form of technological development, new generations in the labour market and more people working in networks instead of traditional organisations. From a purely technological standpoint, it is fully possible in principle to work from anywhere, and the need for travel has thus minimised.
The biggest change in the views on work is increased flexibility. Castellum itself took up the challenge, and after the summer offered its employees the freedom to perform their work tasks in the way they themselves prefer even when the pandemic is over.
When employees can choose by themselves
When many workplaces moved into the home in the spring of 2020, it became obvious that the office was facing a major change from its traditional form.
Even if the office has changed, the workplace has retained an important function as a meeting place and a space for social interaction. It is well documented that creativity is stimulated by interaction with others, and that new influences lead to innovation and development. In addition, social relations have a positive impact on both physical and mental health. Castellum’s survey from the late autumn on the theme of the office of the future showed that many respondents missed their workplaces. 87% stated that they wanted to go back to their offices when the pandemic was over, and it was primarily young people who expressed these views.
The “turnkey office” concept makes it easy to combine increased flexibility with increased high levels of service. Fully equipped, state-of-the-art, with a focus on health, sustainability and wellness – all in one simple contract that makes it a trouble-free proposition to have a complete office while avoiding all of the hassle. Easy to move in immediately. Easy to start working: everything is included. Furniture, kitchen and conference equipment, electricity, networks – even coffee. And easy to move out on a short notice period.
Switching focus from product to service
Castellum’s mission is to create workplaces where people and enterprises thrive.
The key to creating service offerings that are appreciated lies in the combination of advanced innovation, where data and AI play an increasingly prominent role, and practical application in the human environment. Castellum’s initiatives in innovation are built on insight into how important employees’ well-being and comfort are for successful operations, and are oriented on increasing the level of service through developing services that make daily life easier for the 250,000 people who work in the company’s properties. One critical area is the boundary between work and leisure, and individuals’ possibilities for achieving a healthy balance in their lives. Modern employers know that it is often here that the tug-of-war occurs over the most attractive skills, as well as companies’ ability to retain and develop their employees.
The trend is moving towards services that lets them focus on their operations and develop a successful workplace. From help with dry cleaning, receiving packages, floral deliveries and healthy lunches in pleasant environments to bicycle parking or the possibility of working out immediately adjacent to the office. The services most in demand in Castellum’s surveys are gyms and changing rooms for young people, and for older employees health and fitness activities.
Apps for a simpler work life
During the year, a digital platform in the form of a smart app was developed that not only simplifies life at work but makes the rest of life easier, smarter and more enjoyable. First out was the United Spaces app featuring an information stream, the possibility of booking meeting rooms and workplaces, purchasing relevant services and, not least, creating contacts and networking with others. Accessy is additionally included, with digital access to workplaces, conference rooms, work-out opportunities and more. In 2021, a similar app was launched for the rest of Castellum’s tenants.
First in the logistics phase
Castellum is one of the Nordic region’s leading players in logistics solutions, with a broad offering that stretches from large central warehouses to “last mile” locations. During the year, a completed asset portfolio in primarily warehouses and logistics was sold. The sale provides Castellum with the possibility of continuing to invest in and develop its most strategic logistics locations such as Castellum Säve in Gothenburg, for example, and Brunna, just north of Stockholm.
Castellum’s tenants thus have access to cost-efficient and secure storage in the best locations, but the company’s ambitions don’t stop there. The company wants to be first, leading the development of tomorrow’s flexible logistics solutions.
Much of these innovation efforts are taking place at Castellum Säve, a three million-square metre space just outside Gothenburg, where great steps were taken in 2020. This includes the work begun on the structural plan for the entire area.
There are plans to construct an approximately 800,000 square metre modern logistics and business premises at Castellum Säve, in stages over a ten-year period. An innovation cluster for developing the sustainable transportation and mobility of the future, as well as testing grounds for air and ground vehicles, will be created in parallel with the long-term development of the area. This unique combination provides Castellum with excellent conditions for meeting its tenants’ ever-increasing needs for flexibility and mobile, sustainable transportation solutions.
With an ear to the rails
Long-term success is determined primarily by how Castellum meets the expectations of existing and potential tenants. This is best done in close collaboration with tenants – their needs and wishes are the best barometer. By being attentive to its tenants, Castellum can produce new and attractive services. The most important questions are: What service and maintenance needs will you have in the future? How can we identify them and create mutual business opportunities?
The dialogue with 5,700 tenants is the most important knowledge bank. Other sources are the results of surveys, questionnaires, seminars and other context that stimulate the development of ideas. Castellum actively monitors developments in other industries, and often takes part in industry-related debates and forums that could provide new perspectives. One example is the European group of experts on sustainability and innovation for which the company was selected for inclusion as the only Nordic property company. The purpose is to create a joint knowledge platform to share experience in sustainability and innovation. This type of collaboration provides valuable input for innovation and research in developing the property industry of tomorrow.
Three years ago, Castellum launched a pilot project to test new wireless technology and to gain further insight into data-driven knowledge about how its tenants’ premises and workplaces are being used. The initial service, Matilda, provided a basis for advice pertaining to the needs for and design of premises. Using AI, smart premises and properties were developed so that they could be adapted in order to be as functional as possible.