April 7, 2020 - by CSCS

Simone (Editor Science & Technology at CSCS) asks Michele (Deputy Director at CSCS).

Michele, you have put together a team to help manage employees working remotely, with particular regard to their welfare in this unusual situation. Where do you see a need?
Yes, we created a small task force to give guidance to all CSCS staff members. We shared links to specific courses and presentations about handling work at home, and we introduced new communication channels that enable the staff to share their experiences. An example is a new channel on Slack named “apart-but-together”. We asked all staff to share a picture of their workplace at home.

How do you start your work day from home?
We are still at the beginning of the new situation, so my day begins with two videoconferences — one with the internal Corona virus crisis cell to discuss the latest developments and measures, and the second one with all the extended leadership and management to explain new measures and to understand the needs of the different sections.

In pajamas or office attire – or something in between?
I am always in office attire. During the first videoconferences with all the staff members, I was also wearing a jacket. I think it is important to differentiate between free-time activities and work, even in the way I dress. To speak about important measures that will affect our lives, it is, in my opinion, important to be dressed correctly.

What are your personal pros and cons of the home office?
In reality, we are not just working from home; we are confined for a longer period of time with our families in our homes. This makes a difference. One of the advantages is that I do not have to commute from Zurich to Ticino, nor from my home in Minusio to Lugano. This makes about 600 km a week. On the other side, I miss the direct contact with my team and work colleagues. I’m not sure if I’m more productive now than I was before.

Has the work-life balance changed for you in the home office, and if so, how?
The first weeks were very busy adjusting to the situation imposed by the Corona virus. I was constantly in videoconferences and on phone calls. This was definitively more stressful than usual. Now things are settling down, though. Today I only had two short videoconferences and a couple of phone calls. Hopefully the work-life balance will improve again, and I will see some advantages in working from home.