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Jo Øiongen will not let go of the home office

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At 19 o’clock, the government has called for a press conference where it will be known what relief will come in the corona measures.

As far as NRK understands, the relief will include the requirement for a home office.

Goes beyond motivation

NHO- Morten Nygård Bakke

Morten Nygård Bakke is looking forward to the NHO canteen being filled up again.

Photo: Artur do Carmo

In the empty canteen at NHO, senior adviser Morten Nygård Bakke is once again looking forward to having lunch with colleagues.

– We hope we are ready for people to come back during the week. We are now working to update the infection control rules so it will be safe to come back, says Bakke to NRK.

He says NHO has received feedback from members that the requirement to work from home has affected motivation, creativity and well-being.

– Now we all warmly welcome you back, says Bakke.

Fear more physical attendance

But not everyone hopes that everything will be as before.

Jo Øiongen works as an IT consultant in Stavanger municipality. For him, the home office has been a revelation.

He loves home office.

When you sit here you are alone and you get the job done well. In the office, someone will always tell you about what happened this weekend, or what they will do next week on holiday, says Øiongen from his apartment at Sola outside Stavanger.

After today’s press conference, he is afraid the employer will have more physical attendance at the office.

I hope the home office does not hang in the balance. I want a home office even if there are reliefs, Øiongen says to NRK.

Nevertheless, he is aware that for his part he wants relief in society, but that Stavanger municipality will still have the opportunity for a home office.

When there was a calmer period in the pandemic, the employer expected us to be in the office two days a week. It is also a scheme that works, he says.

Want a hybrid solution

Marius Myre Eng

Marius Myre Eng has lived well with a home office, but is looking forward to meeting colleagues.

Photo: Private

In the apartment in Oslo is sitting Marius Myre Eng and manages the sales business for the car brands Jaguar and Land Rover in Norway. He has, with some exceptions, worked there since Norway closed down two years ago.

– In many ways it has been nice. You learn well to work efficiently on your own and you get a workday with plenty of room to sit focused. But what I miss is meeting colleagues and having small talk over the desk or at the coffee machine. The valuable you get out of the informal conversations you have in the office, says Eng to NRK.

When the order for a home office expires, he still believes that he will spend some days walking to the living room.

– I think we will probably switch to a hybrid solution. For my part, I will be positive to come back and meet my colleagues in the office, but then I will also have the opportunity to work from home on the days when it is required to be focused, says Eng.

He emphasizes that it is important to have regular meeting points with colleagues when working from home.

– With us, it has been important to have regular meetings and capture the chat you lose in other forums digitally. But I never think you will be able to replace the physical meeting as well with a digital meeting. And although home office has worked well for me, I think that especially those who live alone and do not see anyone in a day can have challenges.

Positive in the short term

Researcher Mari Holm Ingelsrud at the Labor Research Institute at Oslo Met has through the pandemic investigated how home offices have affected Norwegian employees.

We started the measurements one year into the pandemic, and then people stated that they are generally fine in the home office, but when it is not voluntary it has some disadvantages, Ingelsrud says to NRK.

A distinction must be made between voluntary home office and mandatory home office. Many of the benefits of being able to work from home are related to flexibility and the ability to decide for yourself when you want to do it.

For some, home office can have a direct negative impact. Ingelsrud refers to previous research that mentions social isolation and lack of professional community as challenging.

Home office as an injunction is not entirely harmless. It has consequences for those for whom the home office is of little benefit. They probably would not have chosen to work so much in the home office voluntarily, says Ingelsrud.

The main impression from the companies the researchers have been in contact with over the past year is that productivity in the home office has been good.

It seems that both managers and employees point out that working in a home office has been quite positive for efficiency, at least in the short term, says Ingelsrud.

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