Working in 2020

How GIZ colleagues are experiencing working from home.

Hellen Gomez Cambronero Procurement and contracting officer in San José, Costa Rica
Hellen Gomez Cambronero Procurement and contracting officer inSan José, Costa Rica

The pandemic brought huge changes to our routine. All of a sudden my husband and I were also teachers, and had to juggle our jobs with housework and helping with virtual learning. In the early days, there were two challenges I particularly struggled with: concentrating on work at my new workplace, where my daughters were playing and giggling or just doing their homework, and trying to get my priorities right in my work. Gradually I learned to manage my time better, be more productive and set boundaries so as to establish a decent work-life balance. The in-house advice and coaching services provided by COPE* helped me a lot in this. Although the circumstances surrounding this ‘new normal’ are difficult, it has also been a very fulfilling time for our family.



Mihajlo Lahtov Communication officer in Skopje, North Macedonia
Mihajlo Lahtov Communication officer in Skopje, North Macedonia

The coronavirus pandemic caught us all unawares. However, it is human nature to adapt quickly to new situations and make the best of them. I had chosen to work for GIZ because I share its corporate values and principles. Since the start of the pandemic, GIZ has been putting these into practice even more energetically than before. It pays attention to employees’ mental and physical health and allows us a lot of space for creativity. This helped me find a good way of working from home, surrounded by my family. These are testing times for us all. Living without seeing friends, not going to restaurants or cafés, and without sport, concerts or cinemas is not what I would choose for myself. But the pandemic also gives us an opportunity to pause, take stock and think about where we are and which way we are heading.



Sandra FlickeTopic manager in the Sector and Global Programmes Department in Bonn, Germany
Sandra Flicke Topic manager in the Sector and Global Programmes Department in Bonn, Germany"

Clear segregation between a work area and a living area didn’t work for us – we were more likely to have organised chaos. My three-year-old daughter’s definition of mobile working is: ‘When Mummy wants to do stuff on her computer rather than play with me.’ Before an important meeting I tell the children: ‘Let’s get through this together and then we’ll have some special time for ourselves afterwards.’ They need to know that they are just as important to me. I get the impression that we are working more efficiently together in our team. Questions now come in batches, whereas before if people needed advice they would ask at any time. What I miss is personal contact. One thing I’m pleased about is the success of mobile working. In the past, people often said that it wasn’t really possible for certain roles. Now it turns out that it is, after all, and that’s great. We’re all getting plenty of practice in digital ways of working together and are getting better at it all the time.

*COPE is a GIZ team made up of psychologists and expert advisors with various supplementary qualifications as well as experience of working for GIZ in Germany and abroad.

aus akzente 3/20