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COVID-19 teaches Danske Bank a virtual lesson

More working from home and more virtual meetings. The experiences of working remotely will have a lasting impact on Danske Bank - the purpose is to become a more attractive work place for employees while maintaining the good customer experience.

The COVID-19 experience of sending more than 19,000 employees from the office to work from home will now have a lasting impact on how work is structured and conducted at Danske Bank. With early indications of increased customer satisfaction, employee engagement and productivity, Danske Bank now wants to capitalise on the experiences the last couple of months.

Image: Collage of employees in Danske Bank during the corona pandemic. 

“This experience has proven that there is so much untapped potential in the virtual workspace that we need to explore and use to create a more attractive and flexible workplace going forward while still maintaining the inspiration, energy and social connection that comes with belonging to a physical team and environment,” says CEO at Danske Bank, Chris Vogelzang. 

Initial lessons learned

Less employee stressed

50% less stressed employees in the Danish financial sector (Source: Finansforbundet)
Customers satisfied with online meetings

8.7 / 10  is the avg. customer satisfaction on online meetings in March 2020 - up from 8.5 in February
More prefer online meetings

20% increase in customers who will prefer online meetings going forward
Less airplane travel

93% less  airplane travel in March 2020 compared to March 2019

Working from home 1-2 days a week + investment in more digital tools  

In addition to giving employees the option to work from home one or two days a week and ensuring that all internal meetings are available through skype links and do not require physical attendance, Danske Bank will also invest in new digital collaboration tools and platforms. 

Just the first steps
According to COO at Danske Bank, Frans Woelders, those are just the first in a serious of initiatives as the bank’s executive leadership team has launched a project to explore the full learnings from the Corona-crisis, and how these can be used to create a more flexible and digital workplace in Danske Bank.  

“The past months have really taught us that work is not a place, it’s an activity. We are going to explore many different initiatives and solutions, but if we want to see a long lasting change, we need to start already now and ask all of our colleagues to join us in this.

That’s why we are now stating very clearly that even as society is slowly returning to a kind of normal, we should bring along some of our new habits and the flexibility that comes with working from home, just as we should naturally prioritise virtual meetings and collaboration over travels,” says Frans Woelders.  

Initial initiatives in creating a more virual workplace

Possibility to work from home

Possibility for employees to work from home 1-2 days per week in alignment with their managers
Always an option to join virtually

Internal meetings to always include an option to join virtually without feeling “left out”
More tools and platforms

More collaborative tools and platforms enabling the digital workplace - e.g. Microsoft Teams 

Collecting input from employees

Among other changes, the project is looking into changing corporate facilities going forward to focus on more team-spaces and work hubs for physical meetings, brainstorms etc. and less on solo work stations as more employees would work remotely some of the time. 

“We are aware that an increasingly virtual workplace comes with challenges and matters that need to be identified and addressed, just as we need to ensure that our colleagues have the proper tools, skills and equipment to work from multiple locations,” says Frans. 

That’s why the project is also continuously collecting perspectives and ideas from employees – both via online surveys and dialogues between leaders and employees.