Léonie S. Mollet, Isabel Ammann, Marco Serraino
Three employees discuss work models for the future that are in place today.
Léonie, what is unique about your personal work model?
My hobbyhorse is most certainly working remotely from New Zealand. Working remotely gives me insight into what I took for granted, for example, being responsible for organising my daily routine, building sustainable relationships from afar and contributing my strengths from a distance. It’s interesting to see how these habits change when I’m working in Switzerland.
I notice time and again that I place more restrictions on myself than my work does. It can be the tiniest of things: a few weeks ago, I discovered making phone calls while out for a walk. It is fascinating how much is resolved, particularly in very tricky or personal conversations, when I am literally on the move.
I like breaking new ground by exploring and pushing boundaries. This also means that I sometimes fail spectacularly, whether it be due to the hurdle of international bureaucracy or against my own standards. This is perfectly OK, it provides material for great stories and also ensures that I never take myself too seriously.
Marco, what is it like for you?
My work model is, in itself, not so spectacular. I work 0.8 FTE and, in doing so, try to balance my career ambitions with helping to look after our son and my ‘side job’ as a guitarist in a post-metal band. Because of this, I greatly appreciate the flexibility TBF offers.
It’s happened that in the middle of the working day, a tune has entered my head. A tune that (naturally) had to be recorded immediately. Two hours later, after my fingers had cooled down again, I carried on working. The working day might have been longer, but it was twice as productive. On more normal days, I use the flexibility to go on planned and spontaneous outings with the family.
Of course, things do not always run smoothly. To use Léonie’s expression: I ‘failed spectacularly’, particularly in the beginning. There were times when I spent a whole day in front of the computer without achieving a lot, because I allowed myself to be distracted too much while working from home or somewhere outdoors. The payback followed immediately: adding a concentrated night shift onto the working day. Lesson learned: focus!
Despite all of the flexibility, I am looking forward to more social contact in Beckenhof, the TBF office where I am based. Drinking an occasional spontaneous coffee with the team or going for a walk around the office for no reason... that is something I have definitely missed in the last 1.5 years.
And how have you experienced this change, Isabel?
Even though I have no children at home, I appreciate the flexibility of the new working arrangement. Since there is enough space for my whole office in my rucksack, I can choose to work wherever I want. For example, I occasionally go to Bern for a face-to-face meeting, work from home if I want to avoid distractions (or limit them to my cat), or I go to the office in Zurich if I am itching to speak to my work colleagues. This regular change of scenery ensures that everyday life is full of variety while also presenting unexpected challenges, such as when documents can only be made available by the customer in physical form, and I first need to find out when and where I can collect them.
I appreciate the time flexibility, especially when I am driving to the mountains without any traffic jams on a Friday afternoon and then can sit in front of the laptop again when I’m there. However, I notice that in addition to the framework set by my calendar in the form of appointments, I often impose ‘rules’ on myself that are obsolete under the new working arrangement.
My wish for the future is that I question these ‘rules’ more often – and ignore them where appropriate. I will then be able to choose where and when I work based on the needs that arise from the tasks ahead and my daily schedule. I would like to use this flexibility for more of the small things; not just to hang out the washing (which, for me, is a surprisingly good activity for studying a complex problem), but also in wintertime, to take in some air outdoors in the afternoon while there is daylight and sunshine, and then carry-on working feeling refreshed.