Social responsibility

For SYK, social responsibility means looking after people and the surrounding society, including its buildings.

Property development

We carry out construction projects and develop the service networks of our campuses in cooperation with our customers. It is important for us that the end result serves the users not only today, but also in the future. We aim to ensure that our new buildings as well as renovated buildings are healthy, safe and comfortable.

Our customers also have their own environmental and sustainable development goals, and we want to help them achieve them. Cooperation plays a significant role in this regard.

We understand the value of our properties and respect their cultural and historical position. When changes in the focus of our operations lead to us selling properties, we find buyers who have the same respect for the properties and the desire to develop them as part of the urban environment.

We want our new buildings as well as renovated buildings to be healthy, safe and comfortable.

Research and development

Our vision is to be Europe’s most respected campus developer. To achieve this objective, we invest actively in research and development. We want to understand the increasingly rapid changes happening in the world and their effects on our business, and make the latest opportunities available to our customers.

One change that affects our operations is related to the changing perceptions of learning. This involves a shift from lecturing to phenomenon based learning and learning by doing. This entails creating classrooms and lecture halls that support a more active role for students. At the same time, the perception of learning premises is becoming broader. Spaces such as lobbies, corridors and restaurants can be used as learning environments.

Our research and development projects have achieved internationally significant results and global recognition. The Ruusupuisto buildings at the University of Jyväskylä, for example, received very good scores in the Leesman workplace satisfaction survey.

New development through demos

For learning, development and competitiveness, it is important for people not only to know how to work together, but also to utilise cross-disciplinary expertise and networking.

We have built several demo environments to test the effects of new solutions on people’s actions and experiences. Demos involve making small-scale changes to existing environments within one calendar year. They facilitate testing the effects of new spatial solutions, service solutions and digitalisation on the users’ actions and experiences. The effects are measured before and after the changes are implemented. Active project participation by the users of demo premises has a positive impact on the design solution as well as the implementation and effectiveness of the demo.

We allocate funds to research projects annually based on requirements and our demo project budget typically represents approximately five per cent of our budget for annual repairs. Our partners’ investments multiply the overall impacts of our research and development investments.

CARE project for campus renewal

The most significant research project we completed in 2016 was the Campus Retrofitting project, or CARE for short. Funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, the project surveyed the status of campus development in the Nordic region and developed and tested innovative solutions that support learning, academic research and the active use of premises.

Traditional classrooms were retrofitted to create learning environments that are active and engaging while also making diverse use of technology. The L2 auditorium at the University of Oulu, for example, was transformed into a multipurpose learning space that promotes interactivity and the use of technology. The CARE project involved the implementation of 24 demo environments under a total budget of EUR 2 million.

The impact of physiological factors on learning

In 2016, we also studied the impact on learning of lighting and the auditory environment. The learning atmosphere can be influenced by adjusting the lighting. Cold light stimulates tired pupils, while warm light calms down restless pupils. We are testing the impact of light on learning at the Oulu University Teacher Training School.

In new open-plan learning environments, the noise level generated by ventilation is often so low that creating the right acoustic environment requires the use of sound masking. Also needed are functional and flexible partition walls that do not eliminate the advantages of the open-plan environment. Acoustic curtains, for example, are effective at dampening sounds.

Flexible spatial solutions can increase the quality of teaching. Replacing a fixed wall between two classrooms by a wall that can be opened as necessary allows two teachers to form a pair that works together to teach two classes at the same time. This provides more alternatives and opportunities for planning teaching in the lower grades.

The Pinni A5 demo at the University of Tampere Faculty of Management was aimed at increasing spatial efficiency and providing researchers working in separate rooms with new workspaces that promote creativity and a greater sense of community. The result was a combination of open-plan office space, separate working rooms and meeting rooms that has enhanced the exchange of information and been very well received by the users.

Our demo project at the Joensuu campus of the University of Eastern Finland was focused on experimenting with the sharing economy. The university’s Institute of Photonics offers its Sm4rtLab equipment for remote use by researchers globally. The data is in the cloud and visiting researchers can control and monitor their experiments online via their own computers, even from the other side of the world.

The Virpa C project launched in 2016 is aimed at making commercial premises more attractive and their use more sustainable through digital property services. Digital sensors and cloud services can be used to increase the effectiveness of property maintenance and the monitoring and control of the conditions at the property.

Our research and development projects have achieved internationally significant results and global recognition.

Customer cooperation

Our customers include universities as well as businesses and other organisations that operate on campuses. In 2016, universities accounted for 95.8 per cent of our revenue, while other customers accounted for 4.2 per cent. We estimate that, from autumn 2018 onwards, universities will represent approximately 85 per cent of our future cash flows from leases, while other customers will represent about 15 per cent.

In accordance with our customer promise, we support the success of universities by developing our properties into attractive campuses. Customer relationship management is part of our company’s strategy and it is aimed at ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction.

We survey our customers’ satisfaction with our operations annually. At the same time, we survey the company’s reason for being and aim to identify areas in which operations should be developed.

We received a total of 129 responses to our customer survey conducted in late 2016. SYK’s average overall score on a scale of 1–5 was 3.6. Some 95 per cent of the respondents indicated that our role as a developer of university areas is fairly important or very important, and 25 per cent felt that our operations have improved over the past year (2015: 20%).

Breakdown of customer groups by revenue 2016

Universities 141 384 17995,8 %
Others6 180 3124,2 %
In total147 564 491

Others in shares

Indicators of Sustainable Development

 NoteUnit 2016
Corporate Responsibility
Social responsibility, charityyearly charity project1 / year
Personnel implications in added value for stakeholders
(voluntary work)
h/year/employee1,9
Stakeholders
Demo projects with universities nr. / year6/2016
Company employment figures throughout Finland man-year/year 2000
Security issues
Emergency first aid trained employees employee / personnel 16/32
Safety coordinator and guidance at SYK`s construction sites%100%
Education of Employees
Number of training daysdays/employee/year3,5
Number of Employees and variabilityemployees/new employees
32 / 0
Wellbeing at work
Number of working days used for wellbeingdays/employee/year0,5
Grade of employee satisfaction questionaryscale from 0 to 53,9
Development Discussions with Employeesheld %100%

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