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Working in Norway

Working Remotely: Is it your right?

Written by Karin Lee Published: June 11 2020

Do you consider working remotely to be your right?

In Norway we work under the ideas included in The Norwegian Model.

Though when I’ve googled this term, it often comes up as The Nordic Model, so it’s hard to know which of these countries really owns this idea.

No matter – what’s interesting here is how one of this model’s components is the flat work structure enjoyed by the employees in not only the public sector but also the private one.

Are we really all equal?

Write ‘enjoy’ because sometimes I’ve gotten the feeling that working people in Norway take it a bit for granted that they’re on more equal footing with their boss than is the case other places in the world.

So that they consider it a right they have to be able to give their opinion openly if their management introduces a new idea that might affect their working conditions.

Which might include questioning the decision itself, if it’s a good or bad one.

Because giving your opinion openly and honestly is generally highly regarded in Norway, as it makes you appear honest and trustworthy to other people.

Where are we at with this idea in the American workplace? Or with our structure?

Working remotely - the new work model?

Thought about this because of a business advice column I read in the local paper this morning where the topic is about working remotely in our new pandemic-driven society.

Which of course has been for everyone’s safety, no problem there. But now we’re talking about getting ‘back to work’ in the workplace, including offices.

So what’s interesting here is that the writer starts out with the statement that “my boss started letting us work from home awhile back, which is great.” (Note: “letting us”)

But there’s a problem because “She’s now insisting that we be available for online meetings every day but Monday.” And then the question: “Can I talk to her about unrealistic expectations?”

Not better or worse – just different?

Even more interesting is the advice columnist’s response: “What bosses hate, hate, hate is when they try to do something nice and employees immediately want to debate the new policy…ask her what she would like you to do…’ask instead of tell’ can make it sound more like you’re trying to support her and less like you’re trying to be ungrateful…”

(Note: “do something nice”… and ”want to debate”…”ask instead of tell”…”ungrateful”)

This question-answer exchange doesn’t sound very flat, does it? Or honest and open, either.

That is, when seen from a Nordic worker’s perspective.

But does that make it wrong or bad? Or just different?

So am still wondering, should we consider working remotely to be our right?

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