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Photo: CF Wesenberg/kolonihaven.no

Aviation

How has the pandemic changed travel patterns?

Group director Lars Erik Lund is Executive Vice President, Strategy and Sustainability at Veidekke:

Which are the most important destinations for Veidekke?

“Our head office is in Oslo, and we travel a lot between our country offices in Stockholm and Copenhagen. We also have offices in several large cities in Norway and Sweden to which we travel. And we also have operations pretty much in the whole of Scandinavia, which means our employees travel to various projects where we are constructing buildings, bridges or boring a tunnel.”

How has the pandemic changed travel patterns for Veidekke employees?

“There has been a sharp reduction. In terms of all travel, we are talking about a drop of over 40 percent. On the administration side, travel went down to almost zero for large periods of the pandemic, although naturally we had to continue to be on site in the locations where we are involved in construction. We have employees at hundreds of projects at the same time, with good local project management and local tradespersons. Obviously local project management and tradespersons cannot be replaced by digital meetings.” 

But what about other meetings?

“There was a real explosion of digital meetings virtually overnight. From top management and down in the group, we have seen that you can replace in-person meetings with digital solutions. Even so, I think that we are going to want to travel much more when we can. It is both important and enjoyable to meet colleagues and clients.”

What safety measures have you put in place for your employees when they travel during the pandemic?

“Veidekke has a very active company healthcare service. This goes without saying for an enterprise that involves heavy physical work and with a focus on preventative health and safety. A natural extension of this is to implement good rules and procedures to prevent the spread of infection both on construction sites and when traveling. Via our online booking system, we know where our employees are at any one time and can also warn them and take other steps in the event of a possible infection.”

You have chosen SAS. How significant has SAS’ focus on sustainability been for your choice of airline?

“We have chosen SAS first and foremost based on their route schedule that meets our needs, that this is safe and secure and that the airline abides by the rules. Having said that, that a supplier has a clear focus on sustainability also puts them in a better light than the competition. From being a reporting point, sustainability is now part of core business. This applies to the entire sustainability chain, including the need to ensure proper safe and healthy working conditions. In our experience, SAS treats this seriously.”

How much traveling did you do before the pandemic?

“I am a Diamond Card holder, so I traveled a great deal. I would fly at least one or two days a week, but since March, that has virtually come to a complete stop.” 

How would you like to travel personally post-Covid-19?

“I love traveling with my family. Many cities in Europe are on my list, and I dream of cycling round Girona, Florence and in Tuscany. Plus, a trip to the south of France and the USA.”

Veidekke is a leading Scandinavian civil engineering contractor and one of the largest with 8,200 employees. The company has a clear market position in and around population centers in Scandinavia and undertakes all types of construction and civil engineering projects, including road maintenance and produces asphalt, crushed stone, and gravel.

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