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– Have you tried the new headphones? They shut out the noise from the room at the same time as you and the conversation partner hear the conversation much better. says department head Adrian Ulleberg in DNB.
Ulleberg takes a coffee break with colleagues Øistein Schive, Pernille Martinsen and Sandra Lundin. Today, they are all physically present at work, but this is not the case every day.
– Yes, they work great, says Pernille Martinsen and Sandra Lundin.
The transition from working alone in silence in the home office to being surrounded by lots of colleagues, noise and small talk can be overwhelming. That’s why the new headset is popular.
Nevertheless, the workplace after the corona is different than before.
Around them at the head office of DNB in Bjørvika, there are fewer people in the premises. Most people work both from home and in the office during a work week.
Now it is no longer a matter of preventing infection, but of having flexible and efficient working days. Digitization and the technological promise under the corona have made remote work possible.
– Here we have prepared for a long time, and we are introducing our new, hybrid working model that is adapted to different functions’ areas of responsibility. We allow an increased degree of flexibility where employees can work up to two days outside the office a week, says Vibeke Hansen Lewin in DNB’s communications department.
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Work and leisure flow together
The big bank believes that the solution is here to stay. The employees get more flexibility, and the company has few or no disadvantages of home office. Dedicated employees work more efficiently from home. The advantage is that you can more control your own working hours. But DNB employees admit that the working day at home can often be a little longer than normal.
– It is very easy to open the PC again in the evening, Ulleberg says.
– Yes, I must admit that I often start work early in the morning. At home office, I save travel time, I like to spend that time on work tasks, says Schive.
A trend in working life
DNB is not alone in changing working arrangements now that society is reopening.
Schibsted, Telenor and Equinor are among many companies that have introduced so-called hybrid jobs. During the autumn, the scheme has spread to large parts of the business community.
Telenor calls the new work scheme SmidigDag.
– We build on the best experiences from home office life during the pandemic, and have facilitated a high degree of flexibility, says HR director Anne Flagstad in Telenor.
More than half of Telenor employees want to work two days at home or elsewhere, an internal survey shows. Similar studies have shown the same result.
– At the same time, the employees are clear that they have a desire for and need for physical meetings and social and professional interaction with colleagues, says Flagstad.
Telenor has upgraded the offices with collaboration zones, social areas and meeting rooms with video equipment.
DNB has equipped the meeting rooms for a digital workday with, among other things, several cameras so that teleworkers and those at work can communicate better in meetings.
In Schibsted, they have thrown out half of the office desks, and have built several social zones on the premises.
– Under the corona, we have seen that much of the work we do works better and is faster digitally. We will take care of this. We have used the experience as a momentum, says HR director Mette Krogsrud.
Schibsted has employees in many countries and believes that the advantage of increased digitalisation is that employees experience a stronger connection to the company and that they are included to a greater extent.
– This is how they get an experience that not everything happens in Akersgata, says Krogsrud.
Schibsted believes that days at work are to a greater extent than should be used for social activities and interaction. But the work tasks determine how much home office people can have.
Equinor will also not return to the old working model.
– Through the pandemic, we experienced the opportunities to work and collaborate effectively virtually, at the same time we also experienced the value of meeting colleagues and collaborating face to face. Equinor has therefore chosen a hybrid model that combines both physical and virtual work, says spokesman Eskil Eriksen.
May have negative long-term effects
The Norwegian Institute for the Working Environment is closely following developments. Currently, there is little research on how the corona age has affected jobs.
But the management at the department believes that one must be very aware of the challenges that the hybrid office entails.
– The danger is that work and leisure slip too much together. It is easy to sit down at the PC to continue working in the evening. This can have serious consequences in the long run with burnt out employees. The flexibility that many people appreciate when it comes to home offices can backfire and become a major challenge, says director Pål Molander at the Norwegian Institute of Work Environment.
International research shows that a lot of teleworking can have negative consequences for employees, he points out.
A lot of working time in a home office can also affect the work environment and the community culture.
– In the long run, the result can be poorer motivation, lower efficiency and impaired health of employees, says Molander.
In DNB, people are conscious of avoiding the pitfalls.
– In our department, we are concerned that people should have the same routines as we have at home. You should take a lunch break and be careful not to extend working hours into your free time. Most people still appreciate the great flexibility a couple of days with home office provides during a working week, says Øistein Schive.
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