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Cphbusiness moves work outside: "When you are away from the screen, you get oxygen for the brain and new energy"

Article by Freja Valla Broman & Ida Stahl

Cphbusiness is moving more office work outside after a successful project early in the spring of 2022. Carrying out tasks without doors contributes to an increased energy level and employee well-being in the working community. With zero kroner in the pocket and a good handful of creativity, we have succeeded in motivating and inspiring employees to new outdoor work habits. 

Corona left its mark on all of us when the pandemic stormed over the Danish country in 2020 and shut down workplaces and classic work habits. The Danes spent more time outdoors, and what previously took place in closed office spaces, was moved home and out into the fresh spring air. Also on Cphbusiness. 

After several years with corona, Cphbusiness felt at the beginning of 2022 a need to create positive change in the employees' everyday life. Therefore, the employees in administration and management at Cphbusiness decided to launch a project with a focus on the employees moving their work tasks outside to a greater extent. With the new project, Cphbusiness would join the field of frontrunners and focus on collaboration and solving work tasks in the open. 

 

Good old and brand new habits meet 

The project was launched as a strategic decision on the part of the organization, with a desire to influence various parameters, such as workplace cooperation and well-being, in a positive direction. Cphbusiness therefore decided to investigate whether some of the positive learnings and changed habits from the corona era could be used constructively. 

 

"Corona created a change in our everyday life. There were many who held one-on-one conversations outdoors, and we were more or less forced to rearrange our work habits. In that way, it was not so far-fetched to consider whether we could maintain the advantages we learned during corona,” says Ane-Kathrine Banke, chief consultant at Cphbusiness. 

 

The focus was particularly on using nature and outdoor areas more during the working day. Creativity was a little challenged as the project was launched with a zero budget, but according to Ane-Kathrine Banke, moving the work outside does not really require large costs.  

 

Volunteering, methodological freedom and management support - the keys to success 

Before the project was launched, the project's three primary driving forces - Ane-Kathrine Banke, Helle Haahr Nielsen, associate professor at Cphbusiness and Annette Jørgensen, associated consultant - defined two essential principles; voluntariness and methodological freedom.  

 

"The project was to be based on voluntariness and freedom of method. Under these two principles, all ideas are welcome, and employees can be outside in the way that best suits the individual. It is in line with the culture of our organization and it ensures that most people, regardless of any physical defects, get outside on their own terms,” says Annette Jørgensen. 

 

Annette Jørgensen presented the benefits of working outside for the employees and gave examples of which work tasks can be advantageously taken outside. In addition, the managers at Cphbusiness were encouraged to hold team meetings and MUS conversations outside. The fact that the managers supported the project helped to legitimize that it is perfectly okay to take the work outside. It had particularly great signaling value for the rest of the organization that Cphbusiness's principal was at the first kickoff, says Ane-Kathrine Banke, who also emphasizes the partnership arrangement that was established. 

 

"It is largely about awakening motivation and inspiring employees to establish new outdoor habits. Instead of focusing on the individual employee, we established a partner scheme where the employees were encouraged to follow up on each other in relation to establishing new habits,” says Ane-Kathrine Banke. 

 

Shared experiences strengthen relationships 

The employees at Cphbusiness welcomed the project. Helle Haahr Nielsen, who teaches managers in value-creating conversations and coaching, can nod in recognition to the joy of replacing the office environment with fresh air. She finds that the managers on her team unanimously come back and talk about positive experiences by moving employee interviews outside. Right now, she is working on a pre-research project - "Leading in the outdoors" - which gathers knowledge about moving management work outside. 

 

"The fact that you walk together, and in the same rhythm, does something good. Experiences connect colleagues and managers, which in the long run strengthens relationships,” says Helle Haahr Hansen and subsequently emphasizes the importance of real breaks out in the office landscape.  

 

"When you are away from the screen, you get oxygen to the brain and new energy. It is important to get completely away from work and outside in the fresh air and get clarity in the brain,” she says in conclusion about the project, which with great success became an established part of everyday life at Cphbusiness. Many of the employees have reacted positively to the project and continue to take advantage of the opportunity to carry out work tasks outside.  

Project becomes everyday at Cphbusiness 

 

In continuation of the project, Cphbusiness has introduced a number of concrete measures to make it easier for employees to move their work tasks outside in the future. Among other things. have they: 

  • Introduced a new policy in the employee handbook that legitimizes moving work outside. 

  • Established a partner scheme where employees are encouraged to follow up on each other. 

  • Invited all managers from the teams that participated in the project to include outdoor work and experience with it as a fixed item on the agenda for team meetings. In this way, it is followed up on whether the employees remember to go out. 

  • Made a barometer with suggestions for good outdoor walking routes. It allows employees to share their favorite routes, mark when they have walked a specific route, or mark good spots for a quiet phone conversation or reflection. 

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