University Properties of Finland (SYK) had a busy year last year. The year had in store new policies, renewal and changes. Although the pandemic changed our usual ways of doing things, we managed to achieve our goals as planned.

At the beginning of 2020, none of us could even imagine what was to come. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to change the way we use and develop space. Since the spring, SYK, like other organisations, has embraced the digital. The most far-reaching change moved the company’s offices to each employee’s own home.

However, many of our significant projects progressed despite the exceptional situation. In February, we held a SYK shareholder meeting, where we launched a discussion on the goals to be set for the company and the priorities for our operations. These discussions continued at several owners’ meetings during the year and resulted in the emergence of the company’s new strategy. In the early autumn, the whole organisation worked to create new SYK values. Our operations are based on three values: shared responsibility, speaking up and listening, and the right attitude. These values guide our day-to-day operations. In June, we went through co-operation negotiations to reorganise our operations and, in August, the new organisation was implemented. At the end of November, we decided to change the operating model for technical management and decided to start carrying out this management as a SYK operation. Through these organisational changes we want to further improve our operations on campuses.

“The pandemic did not stop us doing anything. It forced us to think of new ways of doing things.”

In 2020, several major construction projects were completed. In Turku, the renovation of the main building of the University of Turku was completed as agreed in celebration of the university’s centenary. The renovation created modern work environments in the iconic main building. In Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences moved to the Linnanmaa campus, where the campus premises were renovated to meet the user’s needs.

Responsibility is an integral part of our operations. Our target of carbon-neutral campuses by 2030 encourages us to be active in finding solutions and to plan a roadmap to achieve that target. As one of last year’s major responsibility actions, we offset our climate emissions from 2019 (approx. 40,000 CO2e in total). Thanks to this offset, our campuses are now carbon-neutral. Strategic planning and the review of the road map to carbon neutrality will continue until 2030 to ensure that we can achieve carbon neutrality through our own actions as planned.

The development of RDI activities also continued throughout the year. During the year, SYK Academy became the SYK LAb concept, which aims to support the utilisation of RDI-related content within our organisation in an even more versatile way. Our RDI activities also include demos implemented in cooperation with universities. Although the pandemic changed the use of campus premises, the demos progressed as planned during the year.

“In 2020, SYK continued to support the activities of universities as an expert developer of space use. Although meeting on the campus sometimes meant remote meetings where participants were several hundred kilometres apart, we managed to maintain an active dialogue with our customers and tenants.”

The purpose of our operations defined in the strategy adopted at the end of 2020 – “We are the best campus partner” – challenges us to focus on solutions and exceed our customers’ expectations. To achieve the set goals, we defined four key strategic guidelines: appropriate facility solutions, clear and high-quality customer service, verifiable added value and secured owner benefits.

In 2021, we will continue to follow the new strategy in our operations. We have drawn up a roadmap to achieve the goals set out in our strategy. We will improve our operating procedures related to customer relationship management and, more generally, develop our internal processes to ensure the high quality of our operations. We want to deliver on our customer promise and truly be the best campus partner there is.

“SYK is an expert in space development on campuses. We understand the challenges related to the development of our customers’ operations and want to provide space solutions to meet them. An open culture of conversation, speaking up and listening will be reflected in our operations in 2021.”


© Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy 2020