Global citizens have quickly adapted their lives in order to maintain social distance and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. In turn, RWS Moravians around the world have made changes large and small. In this blog post, our colleagues reflect on how their lives and work are different now and share their thoughts for the future.
Hans Pich, Senior Regional Marketing Manager
In Berlin, we have now been in home-office mode for weeks. Technically, this is not a problem because I have been working from home for a while, but on the personal side, there are exciting changes. In my home, eating together has become much more important. For me, this has also brought about some changes. My wife and our three children have been opting for a vegetarian diet for some time now, so in a way, I am an outsider. So far, I have been able to get around this a little, as I usually go to a restaurant near our office at lunchtime.
We have been preparing our usual family dishes, but with time, this has become a bit monotonous. Therefore, we set up a plan that everyone in our family looks for new dishes on the internet that we then prepare together. As a result, we have tried a lot of new dishes in the last few weeks and have expanded our menu considerably.
Yesterday, for example, we had a three-colored paprika soup with bread and salad. It not only looks good, but tastes good, too. We will definitely continue to cook together when we return to normal.
Libor Safar, Digital Marketing Director
I live in the Czech Republic, one of the countries that introduced a complete lockdown fairly early on, so it’s currently also one of the first in the process of opening up again. I’m just finishing the seventh week of working fully from home, while schools are closed and are set to remain so for the next few weeks. The lockdown here looks pretty much like that of the rest of Europe, except that it’s been compulsory to wear face masks outside right from the start.
In a weird way, the situation actually reminds me a little bit of my childhood in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s/80s. Closed borders, government restrictions, limited shopping options—I’ve been there (and am happy those times are behind me). But compared to that era, this is still the age of plenty, however we look at it, and the technology that exists today makes things a lot easier to manage.
I’m fortunate to be able to work from anywhere without a problem, not least thanks to the excellent infrastructure we have at RWS Moravia, so working from home poses no technical or logistical challenges. Over the years, I’ve worked remotely or abroad for extensive periods of time, so I’m used to this model. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy now. With both primary-school kids at home, I get to juggle many other roles each day: teaching assistant, technical support (for their school calls or assignments), moral support, cook, physical education teacher, policeman, judge…you name it. I’ve even taught the kids how to use Asana, so they now manage their school tasks. But things are getting better.
My feeling is that remote-work-only companies will continue being an outlier. There are clear benefits to at least some elements of office life; the expectations of its death are greatly exaggerated. But work life, like life in general, will definitely look a bit different even when this is over.
There is always a bright side. Being with my kids 24/7 is something I don’t normally get to do even during the holidays, so in this sense, I’m actually thoroughly enjoying the current situation. And, strangely, I may miss some aspects of it when the next new normal sets in.
Hinde Lamrani, International Search Subject Matter Expert
RWS Moravia has been light-years ahead of most companies in terms of remote work capabilities for years now. Thank God for that! Remote work was already normal for us RWS Moravians; we have a robust VPN network and dual-factor authentication for our secure connections. We already were equipped and used to conducting professional virtual meetings with our clients. So, COVID-19 didn’t really disrupt our work. The support network that was already in place for remote workers became available to the rest of the company when colleagues could no longer physically go to the office. We set up bi-weekly meetings in which remote workers video-meet to share their thoughts and even exercise together. We also have a virtual kitchen where anyone can pop in and socialize with colleagues during a break.
However, my kids are now at home with me, and while I found it tough at the beginning, as the weeks went by, I found myself adapting and coming up with new rules and routines. No one is allowed near my workspace during work hours! This is a rule that they’re still breaking, but they’re getting better at respecting it with time. I found new ways to entertain the kids while they’re on their screens, like kid-friendly language learning or software coding resources. We also do Zumba together for some fun physical exercise and go out for short walks where no one else is walking.
We’re socially isolating, so the only trips outside are for essentials such as groceries. We always wear makeshift masks and latex gloves.
I really miss the little pleasures after office hours, like going bowling or meeting family and friends face-to-face. During lockdown, I’ve been to multiple virtual pub sessions with friends and I found that we actually meet more often now! No need to arrange for a taxi or a babysitter to go out, which actually makes it easier to socialize.
My family is scattered globally (Bulgaria, Canada, France, Morocco, Ireland, Senegal, the US), so not being able to travel is really scary, especially the thought of not seeing a loved one should anything bad happen to them.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m all for adapting so we can come out of this sooner and more safe. I think we should be resourceful and patient in times like this.