Welcome to Susanne Schartz’s home office. Photo provided by Susanne Schartz
With much of Luxembourg teleworking as part of the covid-19 clampdown, Delano is speaking with our readers about their telecommuting workspace and how they are making the virtual office environment work for them.
Susanne Schartz, chief operating officer at Seqvoia, a fintech service provider in the asset management sector, shared her home office with Delano on Friday.
AG: Prior to the covid-19 restrictions, did you already telecommute and, if so, how often?
SS: Personally, I am not a fan of working from home, for me it is easier to start and end a working day if it is framed by travel in and out of the office. Also, communication in the team is so much easier when you just have to turn around and ask a question.
When did you start telecommuting as a covid-19 precaution?
Friday 13 March 2020.
What was your telecommuting workspace previously? Or was it always your “home office”?
Yes, I worked form home previously when I had repairs to be done and could not get a clear commitment on when the provider would show up.
What do you like about your telecommuting workspace?
I have a view of greenery, I see a lot of birds, squirrels, etc. In a normal workday, I am gone when all of this happens.
I like a lot that I can switch on the lights whenever I want--which is always, something that tends to disturb some of my colleagues--so yes, there are advantages!
What do you want to change?
Organise the home office. Luckily my husband recently cleaned out our office, so now it is about arranging the material and technology I need and give it all its own place. I am a big one for not finding something that is right before me.
An object on the desk of Susanne Schartz’s home office. Photo provided by Susanne Schartz
Is there a “personal touch” to your home workspace?
Absolutely! This is my house. I am working on an old table that has come with me through 20 years. There is a giant tea cup on the desk--this is a constant to all my work spaces--over time and location.
What are your most widely used telecommuting tools or applications?
First of all, we use our company VPN to access our drives as if in the office. Then we have a chat tool, email, the phone and videoconferencing. We clearly use the chat a lot, doing chat calls at least once a day with the entire team. This ensures we remain informed and know what is going on in all areas of the business. We use videoconferencing with external parties and replace face-to-face meetings like this.
How do you make telecommuting work for you?
My day is structured, that is important for me. I get up at [my] similar time as usual, 6am, [and] get ready. I currently dress down from ‘business as usual’ but up from my standard off-work dress code. I make a big cup of coffee with my re-useable hand filter and start work.
At the end of the day, I clean my desk a bit, thinking about what is left to do, what is planned for the next day. I put a lot of reminders in my calendar, also reminders for calls or conversations to be had.
During the day, I close the door to my home office, that gives me the feeling I am leaving work when I finish the day in the evening. This is how I switch off, while having the home office right next door.
Have you developed any new habits or routines?
When possible, I cook up a quick dish at lunch. It makes me eat better than normal and more veggie-based. This is something that is more difficult when in the office.
Video-calls and -conferences are becoming routine. This is something I was not a great fan of previously, but now I find they work very well. Using the video helps to build rapport.
After work, I call friends and family a lot. In these times, while we distance physically, we come closer in our thoughts and hearts.
After the covid-19 restrictions are lifted, do you plan to keep telecommuting sometimes?
Yes, I have worked from home before and will continue to do so. Maybe a bit more than previously, making use of chat and video. But I am not sure about this. Being able to move will be the new it-thing after the covid crisis, so we might all be begging to come to the office.