With Norwegian society gradually re-opening since May, many offices are open for business again. To ensure that public transportation in Oslo can allow for proper distancing, authorities have asked residents to work from home, and to only use buses, trains and trams for essential travel. A few companies have come up with clever solutions to comply with health guidelines while welcoming employees back to the workplace.
OBOS, Norway’s largest urban developer, is offering 750 kroner (US $85) per month to employees who ride bicycles or use scooters to get to work. CEO Daniel Kjørberg Siraj is pleased that more companies have followed suit, but adds that it’s a symbolic gesture amounting to roughly the price of a monthly bus pass.
Muncitori Bemanning, an Oslo-based staffing company for the construction industry, is offering its employees a substantially larger kickback of 1,000 kroner (US $115) per week to commute by bike or scooter. General manager Magne Lilloe calls it the company’s koronadugnaden, or Corona volunteer duty.
“Not only are we helping keep the spread of infection down, by encouraging employees to avoid public transport to and from work, but cycling and walking also have clear health and environmental benefits,” Lilloe told business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.
Lilloe says that it’s worth the money to help reduce the transmission of infection, considering the government support that businesses have received throughout the Corona crisis. But, surprisingly, not many employees have taken them up on the offer. After five or six weeks, only a few employees in Oslo and Indre Østfold have participated in the incentive program.