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Bankers in Denmark May Keep Working From Home Well After Crisis

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 5/18/2020 Frances Schwartzkopff and Christian Wienberg
A worker works on his laptop in his kitchen whilst working from home in Danbury, U.K., on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Among the decisions that my need to be made in U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's absence are whether and when to tighten, extend or lift the current lockdown, which has seen all bars, restaurants and all non-essential shops closed, and people urged to work from home where they can. © Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg A worker works on his laptop in his kitchen whilst working from home in Danbury, U.K., on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Among the decisions that my need to be made in U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's absence are whether and when to tighten, extend or lift the current lockdown, which has seen all bars, restaurants and all non-essential shops closed, and people urged to work from home where they can.

(Bloomberg) -- In Denmark, bankers and their bosses are so content with the quality of the work they do from home that almost a third of the country’s financial firms plan to continue some version of the regime once the Covid-19 crisis is over, according to a survey.

Denmark’s economy was shuttered in mid-March. Since then, about 70% of its finance industry has worked from home.

Of the 72 financial firms surveyed, 85% said they were “very satisfied” or “partly satisfied” with productivity levels during the lockdown, according to three polls conducted jointly by employers’ and workers’ unions. In fact, many respondents found that tasks requiring greater concentration were performed with fewer errors, while meetings were perceived to be more efficient.

A worker works on his laptop in his kitchen whilst working from home in Danbury, U.K., on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Among the decisions that my need to be made in U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's absence are whether and when to tighten, extend or lift the current lockdown, which has seen all bars, restaurants and all non-essential shops closed, and people urged to work from home where they can. © Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg A worker works on his laptop in his kitchen whilst working from home in Danbury, U.K., on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Among the decisions that my need to be made in U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's absence are whether and when to tighten, extend or lift the current lockdown, which has seen all bars, restaurants and all non-essential shops closed, and people urged to work from home where they can.

Of the firms that took part, three out of 10 said they expect to make working from home a more normal feature of life after the crisis. The main drawback was the absence of social contact, with 79% of managers saying that a lack of interaction with their colleagues made it harder to thrive.

At Danske Bank A/S, Denmark’s biggest lender, head of treasury Christoffer Mollenbach says a well functioning technology set-up before the crisis made all the difference.

“Often, IT gets a lot of flak when things don’t work,” he said. “We do a very granular daily stress test on liquidity on a line by line basis on our balance sheet. All that works.”

Danske’s head of human resources, Karsten Breum, said discussions are ongoing on exactly how the bank will adjust once the crisis is over. “It is still too soon to be specific about actual plans,” he said on Monday.

Denmark’s strict rules enforcing social distancing appear to have limited the spread of Covid-19, according to the country’s top health authorities. As a result, the government is now in the process of reopening the economy as Danes slowly return to something resembling normal life.

The surveys were based on responses from 72 firms, and conducted at the end of April and the beginning of May. No margin of error was provided.

(Adds comment from Danske Bank)

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