Avedøre freezer

Meet Elo: our very own “Mr. Freeze”

This is not a story about a villain from the Batman movies. This is a Hansenite portrait of our own “Mr. Freeze” – Elo Olsen, one of our warehouse operators working in minus 55 degrees inside a freezer. The freezer and Chr. Hansen has been Elo’s second home for 25 years, and if you ask him, he couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.

Working for 25 years in a freezer at site Copenhagen is quite an accomplishment. Why is this the best place to work?

Well, either you love the freezer, or you hate it. And 25 years ago, I fell in love with it. I feel like it’s home here. The funny thing is it was not what I was hired to do at the beginning of my Chr. Hansen journey. But I immediately went in there, and I never went back.

Working in the freezer suits my needs for peace, creating a rhythm and working towards an end goal with visible results, every day. The feeling of accomplishment when I have picked and filled the cages is so rewarding. Time flies when you are in the freezer while it also feels like time stands still. I know that contradicts, but when you enjoy doing what you do, you get the job done faster and you don’t even think about time. I do not work because I have to. I work out of joy.

 

"Working in the freezer suits my needs for peace, creating a rhythm and working towards an end goal with visible results, every day."

How is it working in a freezer of minus 55 degrees?

I absolutely love it. It’s so cold that you have neither mosquitos nor bosses in there! All kidding aside, I believe I was made to work in the freezer. I do not freeze easily. In fact, I only wear shorts – all year round. When I enter the freezer to work for a longer period of time, I do of course need to wear a suit. But I don’t need a lot of clothes underneath it, as many others do. Often it is just my t-shirt, shorts, a suit with gloves and a hat. 

But when working in the freezer, you do however always need to be on the move. I remember once, during a fire exercise, I had to lay on the ground. And even though I was wearing a full suit, I got very cold very quickly.

 
Elo in Avedoere freezer
Elo at work in and out of the freezer


Is safety a big part of your workday?

Yes. Definitely. Generally, I see many measures taken within health and safety where I work. Especially on production sites, the safety needs to be absolutely on point. We have signs, clearly marked areas on where to work or walk, safety equipment and devices to help you in every thinkable situation. And all those measures only work, if we honor them and live up to the safety requirements.

 

"I do not work because I have to. I work out of joy."

 

What has had the biggest impact on your work?

Recently, we got a new voice-controlled storage system called Pick-by-voice. The system has liberated us from pen and paper, and I can use my time much more efficiently. All I have to do is wear my headset and listen to the voice system, receive my tasks and confirm when the task has been done.

It’s by far the best thing that has ever been introduced to me in Chr. Hansen. It’s easy, it’s fast, it improves ergonomics and it’is practically impossible to make any errors.

 

What does it mean to you to be a Hansenite?

For me, it is about doing what we can to take care of each other and ease the work of others. We have a huge responsibility – not only for ourselves but also for our colleagues. When I am done with my task in the freezer, I go and help the packaging team. They know they can always rely on my help, and I think this is a core thing about being a Hansenite. Relying on each other and making sure that we deliver the best way possible. Whether it comes to safety, looking out for each other or helping with certain tasks.


"I think this is a core thing about being a Hansenite. Relying on each other making sure, we deliver the best way possible"

 

How do you experience the work-life balance?

I enjoy the flexibility there is in Chr. Hansen. For example, I don’t spend full weeks of vacation as most people do. But I have some Mondays and Fridays off, and then I work the other days. This fits my needs and job very well, as I can help to fill in the hours and keep production running during normal vacation periods.

 
Elo and Claus in Avedoere freezer
Elo and his colleague Claus side by side in the freezer
 

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