BEING A FOREIGNER IN A DANISH WORK ENVIRONMENT
Two things come to mind when I think about working in Denmark.
First of all - flexibility. For me, it is important to be able to take my daughter to school or football practice during the week. I am able to work from home and sometimes I even work a few days from Lisbon. This enables me to spend extra time with my parents and maintain friendships from my hometown. This works because of the trust-based relationship I have with COWI. I am evaluated on the quality of the work I produce and my ability to deliver it on time and budget, rather than the amount of hours I stay in the office.
Secondly, I enjoy working in a flat organisation like COWI. It is more comfortable and enjoyable to work in an environment with the opportunity to socialise with colleagues, regardless of position or rank in the Company. But, critically, I believe the flat hierarchy is one of the key strengths of the Danish work environment, as it facilitates the realisation of the potential of the organisation’s intellectual capital. Good input can come from anybody, no matter whether you are a less experienced younger engineer, senior engineer or manager. The culture is one of free dialogue, which often leads to better and more efficient solutions to any given challenge.
Access is key
I am currently working as the Seismic Lead for the European Spallation Source (ESS), which is a nuclear scientific research facility under construction outside of Lund, Sweden. Even though it is not a bridge, this is a very unique project and has been one of the greatest challenges of my career. The ESS will be the largest Neutron Source in the world, and it must fulfil the very stringent requirements of the nuclear industry - including seismic design for earthquake loads with a return period of 1 million years - and to be approved by the Swedish Radiation Authority.
One of the things I enjoy most about working at COWI is access. Access to these types of world-class projects and access to a large network of engineering professionals both in terms of size but also in range of expertise. It is great to work in a place where someone, somewhere in the world may have the answer.