An empty office still generates upkeep costs, Source: Depositphotos

Finnish state to sell empty offices, as employees mostly work from home

Finnish state to sell empty offices, as employees mostly work from home

Almost three-quarters of civil servants have decided that going to the office is a thing of the past

At the end of February 2022, the Finnish government lifted its recommendation that people work from home as a way to minimize the risk of COVID spread. This, however, did not translate into a massive influx back to the offices. In fact, as far as government employees are concerned – only 28% of them leave their homes to get to their designated work environment. The result is – massive office space that sits unoccupied and results in bad optimization of maintenance costs.

In that light, the national authorities have announced an intention to start selling off public properties and reduce their physical presence in urban spaces. This may result in the merging of ministries and departments, not in terms of function but in terms of buildings.

Helsinki is the site of most of the public properties

The main source for this information comes from Senate Properties, an agency that maintains buildings owned by the government. Speaking to Yle news agency, Tuomas Pusa, an operative director from the company, explained that hanging on to excess property means unnecessary energy consumption and inefficient use of taxpayers' money, and therefore the current situation should be resolved.

That being said, and before you reach out to your wallets, possible prices for office spaces have not been yet disclosed. It may take years to sell off the marked properties, however, what’s clear is that the state aims to dispose of more than half of its office space.

It also goes without saying that buildings located in the capital Helsinki hold the most value and likely will be most sought after. Some of the ministries, for example, are located in wealthy districts or in the historic centre near Market Square.

Work requiring specialist devices, or involving classified information, would still require separate premises.

The overall trend for the abandonment of offices is something that is starting to define the working world of the 2020s. The proliferation of information and knowledge-based jobs – professions that are highly digitalized – has caused a rethinking of the work-home boundaries. Yle reports that in the private sector, the situation is similar when it comes to these professions, only 15-30% of employees go to their offices.



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