Everyday learning – both on the job and when collaborating with colleagues and partners – is a key means of developing expertise at Otava. In 2020, the coronavirus forced all employees to quickly learn new tools and ways of working.

Number of personnel at the Group



Average career length in the Group




Employee breakdown by gender: women



Employee breakdown by gender: men




Average age of employees:



Multi-location work and self-management skills

In March 2020, Otava acted fast in response to the threat the pandemic posed to the health of employees. About half of the Group’s personnel shifted over to working remotely in mid-March.

Necessity was the mother of invention. In these exceptional times, people throughout the Group came up with new ways of working – and even new products.

Otava is a diversified Group in which people work in different kinds of positions – not all employees can work remotely.

Remote work is not possible at Suomalainen Kirjakauppa’s bookstores and the Otava book printing facility – infection control had to be ensured at the workplace to protect employee health. For instance, shifts at the book printing facility were separated, with a pause between each shift. This prevented congestion in the locker room and around the employee time clock.  

A hybrid model was introduced after the summer holidays – part of the employees could work on the premises on some days if they wished. Limits were set for the maximum number of persons permitted in work, meeting and social facilities.

In these exceptional times, people throughout the Group came up with new ways of working – and even new products.

When the coronavirus figures took a turn for the worse again, Otava employees shifted back to working remotely when possible.  

In the latter half of 2020, Otava turned its eyes to the future and started thinking about the ways in which the pandemic has changed the nature of work and how employees will perform their tasks going forward. 

Otava can only achieve its objectives with skilled employees. The important thing is to develop work together: this gives employees a greater sense of control and more opportunities to influence their own work.

In late 2020, we started drafting personal plans for employees concerning whether they should keep working remotely or would they work more effectively at their own workstation on company premises.

The current job descriptions of employees are reviewed. Based on this, a personal plan is drafted for each employee on whether they should mainly keep working remotely or at a personal workstation.

Job descriptions and tasks must be clear so that employees can take a self-directed approach to their own work. At the same time, the self-management skills of employees are emphasised.  Personal plans will be drafted in the different business areas.

The focuses of personnel development at Otava in 2020 and 2021 are:

Taking care of wellbeing, especially physical and emotional safety.

Learning new things and sharing existing expertise over organisational boundaries.

The new requirements that multi-location work poses for managerial work and self-management skills.