Survey: People in Finland would like to spend more time with their neighbours – solution could be offered by future digital services

22 August 2018

According to a survey conducted this summer, people in Finland would like to share items and spaces with their neighbours but also to spend time with them in contexts such as communal barbecues. In the future, this could be enabled by digital services. Digital services are still something relatively new in the housing sector, but in the future they could offer a solution not only for everyday matters such as rent payments but also for people’s desire for communality. The rental housing provider SATO, which commissioned the survey, is responding to the growing demand for digital services by launching the MySATO service developed in cooperation with residents.

The SATO survey conducted this summer explored the wishes and needs related to the home and housing services of a thousand people over the age of 18 in Finland.

According to the results, the most natural way of spending time with neighbours among residents of apartment buildings and terraced homes is taking part in traditional communal work gatherings (55%), but more than one in three (35%) would also like to join other events such as barbecues. One in four of the youngest, i.e. those aged 18–24 (24 %), and the oldest, i.e. those aged 65 or over (23%), hoped to meet their neighbours more thanks to shared, communal areas.

“The traditional conception is that Finns are not very outgoing, so these results can be regarded as quite surprising. This is an important finding as regards the development of urban housing, and digital solutions play a significant enabling role in this. Our customers can already use our MySATO service to take care of practicalities relating to their home, and we’ll be developing it further into a more and more diverse channel,” says SATO Director of Marketing and Communications Miia Eloranta.

Demand for digital services

The survey shows that there is a demand for digital housing services. According to Finnish interviewees the most important housing-related matter taken care of fully digitally is paying the rent or the charge for common expenses (67% of respondents). More than one in four (26%) of respondents communicate digitally with the building manager and a little under one in four (23%) with the maintenance company. One in three (33%) respondents would use more of all kinds of housing-related services if they could be ordered from the same place in a centralised manner.

The survey also revealed that more than half (58%) of those living in an apartment building or terraced house think you do not need to personally buy or own everything. Not only items but also competencies could be shared with neighbours. The highest interest was reported in an items-sharing system (54% of respondents), a communal flea market (49%) and cleaning services (32%). One in three (31%) hope to get neighbourly help for childminding or small renovations, for example.

MySATO service was developed in cooperation with SATO residents

Nearly 50 residents participated in interviews and workshops. MySATO was tested by almost 100 residents in the pilot phase. The digital service makes residents’ everyday lives easier by collecting all housing-related information, such as rent payment details, their building’s current issues, and customer benefits in one place. MySATO also enables speedy communications with SATO’s Customer Service.

Residents have given positive feedback about the service and the development process. The work to develop the MySATO service further with customers will continue as a permanent method in the process. The aim is to cover an even broader range of services related to housing and the neighbourhood as well as communality on a single digital platform.

For example, community spirit among the residents has grown successfully in SATO’s StudioHomes, that were completed in Vantaa in the end of 2017. 67 residents moved to StudioHome apartments with the possibility to also use the shared communal areas. Residents have been excited to extend residency outside their apartment and to create communality. Community manager, who also lives in the StudioHome housing cooperative, supports and boosts interaction among the residents.

Nine in ten respondents spend at least half of their leisure time at home

People in Finland like to stay at home during their leisure time: as many as 90% of the respondents reported that they spend at least half of their leisure time at home. They would like to spend any extra leisure time to promote their wellbeing, spend time with other people and relax.

Using housing services is hoped to provide more time for hobbies (31% of respondents). Other reasons for service use include quality of work and comfort-seeking: 30% have greater confidence in the outcome of professional work as opposed to do-it-yourself, while 28% confess there is a household chore they do not like and prefer not to do by themselves.

About the survey:
Conducted by SATO with the research company Bilendi, the survey took place as an online questionnaire in summer 2018 and was responded to by 1,000 people aged 18+ in Finland. The sample is geographically representative.

For more information please contact:
Miia Eloranta, Director, Marketing and Communications,, phone: +358 50 441 4221
Kukka Eerola, Communications Manager,, phone: +358 40 569 8715