Complex spatial needs made smart

The main goal of our cooperation was to create a clear vision for Smartly of all their spatial projects and needs globally. The desired work environment supports Smartly’s culture, community and collaboration. The development work is based on Smartly’s strong value base and corporate culture, with a special emphasis on equality: we wanted to ensure a high-quality and smart work environment experience for every office. With this in mind, Rune & Berg Design’s experts have helped strategically, operationally and in spatial design.

“The cooperation is magical.
I wouldn’t even say Rune & Berg is a partner,
but a part of Smartly.”

Susan Vättö, Facilities Lead, Smartly

A smart work environment concept supporting growth

Our cooperation with Smartly began in 2016 with the development of the Helsinki office’s work environment, after which the offices in Berlin and New York were also renewed. In that case, the planning was done on the basis of country-specific needs; however, at the beginning of 2021, the cooperation was deepened and they wanted to harmonise the spatial experience between the different offices. “The goal of the concept work was to create a common understanding of the current state and future needs based on Smartly’s operating culture, co-create with Smartly’s employees and support them in change, and define the role and purpose of the work environment,” says Lead Designer Jenni Herkama at Rune & Berg Design.

The end result is a work environment concept that supports Smartly’s strategy and serves as a guideline for work environment design globally in hybrid work. The concept has provided a clear framework for an extensive renewal project, and there has been a shift from ad hoc work to systematic management. “As a team, we have gained confidence that large-scale, multidimensional and active development work in different countries is in line with the concept. In-depth cooperation ensures that things go in the right direction, always including the right expertise needed,” Jenni says. The concept is suitable for a wide variety of different spaces and locations, and allows testing of different spaces and ways of working. All Smartly employees have the opportunity to be heard, which has increased the sense of equality on every continent.

Smartly’s Facilities Lead Susan Vättö often expresses how good the cooperation is: “Without the help of Rune & Berg, we would not have succeeded on this scale. The pace of development is rapid, which includes long-term and acute needs, but Rune & Berg has a magical ability to find the balance between these and still keep an eye on the big picture. The cooperation has required a good grip from Rune & Berg, which has been a first-class success.”

The red thread in concept work: design drivers

According to Susan, it has been especially important to involve Smartly employees in the development work, because this is what is being done for them. Design drivers for the work environment concept were defined through interviews, surveys, observation and understanding provided by workshops. In addition, Rune & Berg has a long-standing understanding of both the industry and Smartly. Design drivers guide the concept and spatial design work.

Smartly work environment concept design drivers:

  • Building community – a sense of togetherness and a strong “we” spirit. The offices have extensive multifunctional lounges, terraces and a kitchen area for meetings.
  • Collaboration – a work environment where cross-team collaboration is smooth and information flows. A variety of spatial solutions supporting planned and intuitive collaboration, live, virtually and hybrid.
  • Well-being – enabling spontaneous interactions is particularly important. The spatial solutions also take into account high-quality lighting, cleanroom air, versatile ergonomics and biophilia. In addition, a separate zone has been developed for concentration and recovery.
  • Inclusive – working together and learning as keys to success. The design has taken into account a strong open culture, transparency, accessibility and equal experience in different offices.

“Internally at Smartly, the entire development team has earned full trust. Emphasis has been placed on the spatial experience and it is perceived as very important, both from the top level and at the individual level,” Susan says.

Extensive coverage of different skills

Rune & Berg Design has had a diverse team of experts involved in the development work:

  • Spatial strategy consulting
  • Design strategy, strategic design
  • Service design
  • Spatial design, interior architecture
  • Graphic design
  • Change communications
  • Project management in a global environment

“The information gathered, the analysis and the expertise of Rune & Berg have guided the strategic spatial decisions throughout the cooperation. It has been a pleasure to cooperate with Smartly’s smart and wonderful experts,” explains Lead Designer Jenni.

The recipe for successful cooperation has included committed management, an understanding of genuine needs, clear goals, employee involvement, the creation of aligned operating models and continuous learning and development.

Susan has found the cooperation very easy and immediate: “It doesn’t matter who the expert from Rune & Berg is. Everyone there has a passion for doing things, a desire to do things well without wasting anyone’s time. They are warm-hearted experts.” – a creative software house

Smartly’s growth story from two founders to a global player of 650 people in eight years is unique. Smartly currently operates in 17 locations. Combining creative advertising production, media buying automation and first-class customer service, Smartly helps brands around the world increase their advertising results. At Smartly, shoes and titles remain at the door.