August 14, 2022

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Energy Level Change - E24

Energy Level Change – E24

Atea Ole chief Petter Saxrud is looking to get people back into the office they moved into weeks before the pandemic broke out in Norway, but architectural psychologist believes working life is facing a historic turning point.

It’s hard to muster the enthusiasm now, says Ole Peter Sachsrud, CEO of Atea.

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It goes toward easing infection control measures. Health Minister Ingfield Kirkul has already promised it will be “significant”, without going into further detail about what will be eased. Sveinung Rotevatn of the Liberal Party was clear that the home office order must end first.

We’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to get people back into the office premises,” said Atea CEO Ole Peter Sachsrud.

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The IT company is headquartered in a new “smart building” in Okeren, east of Oslo. The gray office building with large windows contains 6000 sensors to measure presence, temperature and movement, according to Location.

Elevators can be controlled with both an access card and an app, sensors control the lights and meeting rooms have monitors and video equipment for meetings. They managed to move in a few weeks before the epidemic came to the country, and now they are missing.

The energy level has changed, and it’s hard to muster enthusiasm now, says Saxrode.

Saxrud stands on the top floor of the building, with a screen in one corner and narrow pool tables in another. Here they will facilitate good rest periods. The goal was to make going back to the office attractive, because it was hard to keep people away from home offices at times.

– He adds that there could be many reasons for this, citing infection and travel concerns, for example.

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Architectural psychologist Oddvar Skjæveland in Mellomrom highlights home aesthetics as an important reason why some people prefer home offices, as well as less travel. It refers to small envelopes and small sections and that it has a personal touch with art and décor.

Too busy in the home office

It’s also about access to “good desserts,” such as fruit and snacks or drinks, as well as the chance to retreat to quieter areas, Skjæveland points out.

When convenience comes, it will be difficult for employers to plan and calculate daily office life.

– He says people are very concerned about this with home offices.

He points out that he thinks it’s time to stay. In the past 100 years, 8-hour workdays, time off for everyone, and parental leave have been introduced, and it’s common for all of them to give employees more discretion over their time, and that employers can’t get benefits back.

– I think people generally underestimate the importance of that. There is significant disruption in Norwegian working life, and by 2030 this will leave traces of which we are not yet seeing the scope, he says.

He describes it as a “historic turning point in work life”.

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Before the pandemic, there was an average of about 30 percent of absenteeism from the office, whether it was sickness, travel, or the like. Calculations from Skjæveland show that with one working day at home per week, on average about 50 percent will be in the office. If it is increased to two days a week, only about 30-40 percent will be left.

Meeting rooms are ready, but the staff is still in the home office.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold-Widom and Health Minister Kjerkol will take the stage and present the new measures.

Only then will Atia gather forces and lay out a plan for a “new normal”.

From now on, they will facilitate flexibility for employees, and Saxrod believes that the new office is not “a row of the office where you sit and work, but is seen as a square and a place to gather”.

I moved in the weeks preceding the epidemic

There are between 500 and 600 people who have the Atea head office as their workplace, but the manager estimates that they have room for about 450 people at a time. He stresses that even before the pandemic, not everyone was in the office at the same time, as many vendors were out with customers.

They were able to use the new building for a few weeks before sending the whole of Norway into a home office. Although they did not have time to “live in” the building, alterations are being made. Saxrud thinks they will have more social sofa groups, but perhaps they will have fewer traditional workplaces.

He believes that the office of the future has a different function than it has so far.

It would be an important gathering place for creativity, brainstorming, and all the processes where you need more perspectives, he says.

He thinks the tasks you solve individually on your computer may still be done by many at home.

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During this pandemic, working life has seen home office work. Skjæveland explains that you can hold meetings digitally, but you lose partial connectivity. It’s about conversations in the coffee machine, the messages you receive when you meet a colleague, and the ability to see and hear who you’re working with.

It is very important to achieve interaction, belonging, security, and indeed health as well. All this increases interaction in work processes, collaboration and service production, Skjævland explains why employers want people back.

During the mandatory home office period, employees report themselves to be productive in the home office, but Skjæveland notes that the manager does not necessarily agree. He explains this by saying that although the employees did what they intended, they did not perform the tasks that the manager sees as the most important of all.

Ole Peter Sachsrud, CEO of Atea, in front of Christopher “Salke One” Henriksen graffiti work with the slogan “The Place 2 Be” (TP2B).

Now Saxrod is looking forward to employees being able to build social relationships with their colleagues again, because it’s not easy to achieve this in video meetings.

Close daily contact with “your flock” was difficult, says Saxrod.

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