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It is important that we feel good at work

The well-being of her colleagues is a top priority to Christina Pedersen, who has been a union representative at Nordea for ten years. She is curious about other people and likes to be involved and pick up good ideas to be put into action across the company.

"I have always been driven by putting all my efforts into making us feel good at work. When we thrive and look forward to coming to work, we perform better on a daily basis," says Christina Pedersen, union representative at Nordea for over ten years.

"We are able to take more if we have fun while talking to and helping each other. There has to be room for being social, because we spend a lot of time together at work. My colleagues are like my second family," she elaborates.

Christina has a good eye for her colleagues and their working conditions:

"I am a fly on the wall, observing and reflecting on the things that happen and are said. I'm curious about other people and notice how others react when something happens."

It was also her colleagues who encouraged Christina to become a union representative.

She is happy to take the lead when changes need to be made at the workplace.

"Change challenges our habits, but I try to turn it into something positive."

Christina Pedersen is 38 years old and a premium advisor at Nordea, where she has been a union representative for 10 years. Photo: Rune Lundø.

Part of a usual day at work

Christina is the union representative for 30 members at three different locations.
Her daily workplace is in Horsens, but every now and then she works from one of the other addresses.

"For some, the sight of a union representative may indicate that a drama is unfolding. Therefore, I always inform people of my visit in advance – as a peaceful part of a day at work. I like to bring breakfast so that we have time for an informal chat. And then I just carry out my usual duties while being a fly on the wall."

A union representative must first and foremost inspire confidence, Christina emphasises:

"People must feel safe in coming to you – no matter where or when. For some, it may be hard to pull me into an office when everyone is watching. They are then free to call me privately if they need to."

Different hats

It is important to Christina that no one is in doubt about when she is a colleague/employee and when she wears her union representative hat.

"I also need to unload some times. But special rules apply to union representatives. Therefore, I make it clear that 'now I’m saying something as a union representative' or 'now I am Christina'”.

As a union representative, she is the type who takes many initiatives and tries things out.

"I like to get involved in many things and pick up ideas to be put into action across the company. When I’m away for courses, seminars or network meetings, I always make sure to bring something home. It can be a small exercise or lessons learnt that I share at morning meetings. Other times, it's bigger team building events."

After an eye-opener presentation given by Finansforbundet's consultants on well-being at a network meeting for union representatives, Christina helped arrange a visit to Nordea, which turned into several visits and gave management insight into the aha experience.

Like an extended family

Difficult conversations are probably the biggest challenge for a union representative, Christina believes.

"It's hard to witness the emotions and frustrations of my colleagues. The first few times you have a lot of butterflies in your stomach, but over time you learn to navigate it. We get help and are well prepared by our support team in Finansforbundet."

The basic training for union representatives has also provided Christina with useful tools and valuable knowledge.

"It was really good and almost like a mini management course. I got a lot out of it – not least in terms of being a link and collaborating efficiently with management."

Christina Pedersen is 38 years old and a premium adviser at Nordea, where she has been a union representative for 10 years.