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Remote working: Morten now saves three hours of transport every single day

Prior to the corona crisis, Morten Reuber Nielsen spend three hours a day commuting between his home on Møn and his work at Danske Bank. Today he spends zero time commuting – and that is how he intends to continue. Remote working has made a fundamental difference for Morten, who now feels he is healthier, more motivated and a better father to his three children.

Photo: Morten has had a lot of time freed up that he spends on his kids instead. (Photo: Thorkild Christensen)

Previously, Morten ate his breakfast in silence. He closed the door carefully behind him when he left for work so he didn’t wake his sleeping family. From his home on Møn, Morten has a 1½-hour drive to Danske Bank in Høje Tåstrup, and to avoid the worst of the rush hour he drove off from home at 6.30 to be at the office by 8.00.

But that is no longer the case. Morton is one of the many thousands of Danske Bank employees who have said yes to a cash subsidy of DKK 8,000 to set up a more permanent home office – and thus yes to a future with more working from home and flexibility during the workday.

I have discovered that my work is not a place but an activity. It doesn’t matter where I do it.

Morten Reuber Nielsen

Employee, Danske Bank

“I have discovered that my work is not a place but an activity. It doesn’t matter where I do it,” says Morten, who works with the Bank’s real estate portfolio. Morton is the one responsible when Danske Bank builds a new branch or installs new ATMs – and his job does not require him to turn up at an office every day.

“Lockdown has taught me and my colleagues that the standard venue for meetings is not ‘at the office’. That was the case previously, when the office was essentially where you met up. But that notion has been completely turned upside down now, and there has to be a specific reason to go into the office. I may be taking the dog for a walk when I hold a meeting, while another meeting participant may be at home, one is in their vacation property, and one might be talking from their car – and it works just fine,” says Morten.

Vital plusses and manageable minuses
While Morten is enthusiastic about the changes to his working life, he can nevertheless see a few disadvantages with working from home.

“My day has become more compact, with more meetings. Previously, I could get many things done with a colleague at the coffee machine or during lunch, but this has tended to turn into actual meetings. I therefore have to keep a somewhat tighter rein on my appointments diary now, but I can easily live with that because the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages,” he says, and provides examples:

Photo: Morten enjoys being able to participate in meetings while out in the countryside. (Photo: Thorkild Christensen)

“There are so many bonuses and freedoms associated with this way of working. I have the countryside and a forest just outside my door, so I can go out in the sun and talk to my colleagues. I can walk the dog while I hold meetings. This gives me joy and energy, and provides space and freedom that I was not used to before,” he explains.

Initiatives to create a more flexible working life

Home office subsidy

DKK 8,000 payment for home office improvements.
Option of working from home

Freedom to make an agreement with immediate manager regarding extent of remote working.
Virtual participation always an option

Virtual meetings are now standard.
Test of work zones

Test of local work zones as alternative to traditional office setup.

A better employee and a better father 
A working life without the commute but the freedom to plan his day has had a positive impact on several aspects of Morten’s life.

“I feel I am even more motivated in my work now, because I sense I am more involved in the decision-making. I have always been happy with my work, but the framework was very fixed before. I went to work in Høje Tåstrup, and deviating from that setup was difficult. Now I can decide where and when I work, and that has a positive impact on job satisfaction,” explains Morten, who says he also feels physically fitter.

He previously had some back problems caused by sedentary office work and the many hours spent in the car, but he has had no problems with his back for the past year.

“I never previously practised walk-and-talk meetings, so my work and life was very sedentary before. Now life is more active and dynamic. I live in the countryside, with a forest and the sea just outside my front door, and it is easy to take my AirPods along when the dog needs to be walked,” he says, and goes on to describe the great difference having no transport time makes:

“Three hours every day is 15 hours a week – and I now spend that time with my three children instead of sitting in a car. I am there in the morning when they wake, I eat breakfast with them and drive them to school and nursery before arriving back at my home office by 8 o’clock. For many years I felt I was not sufficiently present for them, but that has changed radically now, and I am all the happier for it. I have become a happier father, man and Morten,” he concludes.