Taking a morning ice bath in the Baltic Sea accompanied by warm-hearted colleagues before starting into the workday, having a lively, open discussion about various forms of collaboration within a global group during a cosy coffee break in the office, there are countless opportunities to learn about other cultures and perspectives when being on site in another brand.
Almost exactly one year ago, my extended business trip at the Scania Academy in Södertälje began, about 35 kilometres southwest of Stockholm. For three months, from January to March 2022, I lived and worked in the town at the end of a long, narrow bay in the Baltic Sea. During this time, I gained experiences, collected memories, and built relationships that I still value today. Furthermore, I built a network that still facilitates my daily work in the Talent Management team at TRATON, but also privately the stay enriched my life by new friendships and unforgettable experiences I made along the way.
At work I learnt more about various ways of strength- based development and the positive effects of trust-based work atmospheres and positive mindsets with regards to successful teamwork and collaboration. On the private side I enjoyed the caring nature of my Swedish colleagues which made it easy for me to feel welcome during my entire stay and to learn so much more about the Swedish culture beyond the work context.
During my time in Södertälje, I continued in my role for TRATON headquarters in Munich while being on site in Södertälje – amazing opportunities that digitalization is offering nowadays! Remote work has become normal for us during the past years and is still used practice within TRATON GROUP. Under the term flex office, employees can decide whether to work on-site in the office or at home. Luckily, my cosy Scania flat (with a fantastic view of the Baltic Sea) was close to the premises of the Scania Academy. There, at least five colleagues were regularly on site in the "Learning Management Systems" team. The collaboration with the team on site was top-notch and after the working day finished, I experienced the TRATON spirit first-hand during joint cooking evenings, restaurant visits, as well as during long winter walks along the shore of Lake Mälaren.
Fortunately, I was in Södertälje again for a short visit in the early summer of 2022. On this occasion, I got to know the Scania test track for commercial vehicles at close quarters and was even allowed to experience how it feels driving buses and trucks myself – another precious memory that I will always keep! My experiences in Sweden strengthened my conviction that the possibility of extended business trips should be used by many more colleagues. It´s an investment in successful cross-brand collaboration and it will also be highly enriching on a personal level. I would recommend it to anyone who has joy in learning, developing, and diving into other cultures.
So, my personal recommendation: Go, explore, experience, and enjoy, it´s worth it!