Tomorrow´s workplace - a review

During 2021 KI will conduct an open-ended review of tomorrow´s workplace in order to draw lessons from and capitalise on the experience we accrued in 2020 and combine them with the latest research. This project is called "Tomorrow´s workplace for greater flexibility, efficiency and unity".

Tomorrow’s workplace is, in many respects, already here. Like many other organisations, Karolinska Institutet has been forced to quickly adapt and respond to the Corona pandemic. The pandemic itself has expedited the developments that the emerging society of greater complexity, insecurity, high rate of change and demands on rapid adjustment entails. 

Tomorrow´s workplace

We now need to review how the pandemic has affected our work situation. We need to take on board what we have learned, and use the knowledge to develop a flexible and efficient workplace that boasts a healthy working environment, a strong sense of unity and a first-class reputation as a modern, attractive and competitive employer. Happy employees are productive employees.

At the initiative of the HR manager, University Director Katarina Bjelke has decided to launch an open-ended review in order to draw optimal lessons from and capitalise on the experiences we accrued in 2020 and combine them with the latest research.

The work will be done in project form supported by a working group, and will be led and facilitated by Maria Deckeman. The focal point is step one of KI’s operational support, and conclusions and recommendations for going forward will be presented in the form of a report to be submitted to Katarina Bjelke on 31 March. A decision will then be taken on how to proceed. The report will also include proposals for a communication plan and its organisational anchoring.

The report will also contain recommendations on how the workplace of the future might look in practice as regards the following aspects:

  • Control, organisation and leadership
  • Social, physical and digital working environment
  • Working methods, working times and working rights
  • Equipment and premises planning

These aspects will be presented with a grounding in current research. Proposed interventions will take account of cost/benefit, which is to say that they will be tied to expected effect/benefit in terms of the different aspects. Conclusions and recommendations on how a future flexible workplace is to operate shall be as fact and evidence-based as possible and based on current rules, regulations, etc.

The review has a direct connection with Strategy 2030 and will help to implement KI’s core values by, amongst other things, creating an environment that is conducive to our core values of passion, creativity and responsibility. The way there passes through enabling, relational leadership and well-developed collegial cooperation.

One of the premises of Strategy 2030 is that we need to take seriously the signal of a weak sense of common purpose, and one of the three strategic routes of Strategy 2030 involves a heavier focus on cooperation. In order to achieve a stronger cooperative approach, both internally and externally, and to take the need of common purpose from word to action, we need to create the appropriate conditions and do so on a platform of the latest research.

Some critical questions

  • How do we retain and strengthen the interaction among the organisation’s individuals, units and sections at a time of digitalisation and online work? How do we make best use of technology while drawing attention to and dealing with its limitations and risks?
  • How do we create an experience of togetherness and common purpose even when we are physically absent from the workplace, and what role will the physical office have in the future?
  • How can the physical workplace be designed, given new conditions and needs? How can the rooms be designed from an optimal cost/benefit perspective? How can we ensure that the physical workplace promotes a good physical and psychosocial working environment rooted in the latest research?

The process and interventions associated with the tomorrow’s workplace project will be followed up and evaluated under the direction of Professor Irene Jensen. The evaluation will take into account both effect and process.

Organisation and process, November 2020 – March 2021

  • Phase 1: Establish work forms. Focus on knowledge-gathering. Participate in seminars and share knowledge with the group
  • Phase 2: Adapt the knowledge to KI and identify possible interventions with leverage – i.e. high output relative to input
  • Phase 3: Identify critical questions/issues and produce recommendations with leverage to be able to realise pilot(s) – focus groups take part in workshop with steering group and working group in February
  • Phase 4: Report writing


Commissioning person

Katarina Bjelke

Person responsible

Mats Engelbrektson

Project manager

Maria Deckeman

Steering group

  • Head of HR Office
  • Head of Property and Facilities Office
  • Head of IT Office
  • Head of Central Administration

Focus groups

All office/section heads, including at the University Administration, and heads of department, members of the working environment committee. Continual liaison with the unions and main safety representatives.

Work group

  • Sandra Brogårde, Head of administration, KBH
  • Carina Hammarström, Head of administrationMBB
  • Jenny Degerholm, Head of administration Labmed
  • Lotta Fylking, HR Office
  • Ia Gustafsson, HR Office
  • Matilda Drakvingen, HR Office
  • Sandra Helminen HR Office
  • Niklas Andersson, The Union of Civil Servants, ST
  • Christoffer Ekström, Property and Facilities Office
  • Mikael Wettercrantz, IT Office
  • Stefan Kaptens, IT Office
  • Anette Lebbad, Property and Facilities Office
  • Ingrid Svensson, Administrative support Central administration
  • Amal Velic, Administrative support Central Administration
  • Irene Jensen, Professor IMM, co-opted