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July 9, 2008

Nokia Main Street

BEIJING, China – Two of us working on Conversations work remotely. We’re based at home, though frequently spend time in Starbucks, other people’s offices, on trains and myriad other places. Now, imagine being able to work like that, but without having to leave your office. That’s what it’s like for employees at the newly opened Nokia China Campus in Beijing. The centerpiece of the 70,000 sq-m campus is dubbed Nokia Main Street and offers employees a whole variety of places to work, from cafes to tea shops, meeting rooms and, rather radically, desks – fancy

The Campus is the first new-build commercial building in China to receive Gold LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Efficient Design, a benchmarking system agreed by the US Green Buildings Council for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. This joins a number of other Nokia buildings with similar certification and plans are for more to follow. Grabbing LEED certification isn’t easy with five key areas under assessment: Sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environment. The campus is bathed in light and designed to be an open and efficient place to work.

Nokia Main street is designed to enable greater collaboration between employees, both those based at the building and visitors. All over the building you’ll find WiFi, power points and of course phone chargers (you don’t even need to carry cables, just your laptop and your phone). Every desk and chair is ergonomically designed and electronically adjustable, to ensure a comfortable and safe environment no matter where people choose to work.

But all this isn’t just about cosy new offices and funky cafes. It’s much more about how Nokia sees the workplace of the future. Taking a lead from Internet companies, which typically have a more relaxed working environment, Nokia want’s to create an environment that is relaxed and enables greater collaboration. Ultimately this should lead to greater creativity and in turn better products and services.

This has already been reflected in Nokia’s recent re-organisation which saw the creation of a raft of multi-disciplinary teams working on specific projects.

Later we’ll be taking a closer look at another new service being rolled out in Nokia campuses, The Concierge and lifting the lid on some internal debates on the new ways of working. I find all this stuff genuinely interesting and see it as much about Nokia practicing what it preaches as it is about looking after and attracting good people. What do you think?