April 14, 2021 - by CSCS

Nora Abi Akar (Software Engineer) interviews Raluca Hodoroaba (Training and Community Engagement Officer).

How has your job changed since we started working from home?  
Raluca: My tasks are mainly related to the coordination of training and further education courses, as well as supporting the event manager with organizing scientific events. When the pandemic broke out, most of the events on which I was working were impacted and postponed to 2021, whereas many training courses shifted from face-to-face learning to a virtual format. At first, everything was very uncertain. We didn't know whether we should postpone the workshops or still organize them on-site (of course by complying with the safety measures outlined by the Federal Office of Public Health, FOPH). When it became clear that cases related to COVID-19 were rising exponentially and the Federal Council announced that security measures were being increased everywhere, we shifted completely to online learning. I subsequently attended several webinars as well as read literature on how best to encourage engagement and participation in a virtual classroom setting.

Are you looking forward to going back to the office full-time, or would you like to keep the option of working from home? 
I’m definitely missing the work environment, but I’d also like to keep the option of working from home from time to time. CSCS has established a task force that creates and promotes opportunities for social engagement for CSCS staff working remotely (virtual coffee breaks, a chat room we called “apart-but-together”, health and wellness activities, webinars on how to handle remote working, etc.). These are all great ways of recreating a sense of community, but they cannot be compared to the natural chitchats in the common areas.

How has your social life adapted to the restrictions of the past year? 
I am a social person with a friendly nature. I like keeping in touch with colleagues, friends and family members by having regular social contacts (phone calls, virtual aperos, text messages, etc) or outings. I do, however, understand that people have different comfort levels related to virus-risk tolerance, face-to-face meetings, physical distancing or masks. This is why I think it’s important to find alternative solutions for staying connected and keeping the social interaction, either in-person or virtually. 

If you could pick one personal highlight out of the last year, what would it be?  
I am extremely grateful for my good health and for having been able to work under regular conditions, despite the difficult economic situation determined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If everything goes well, what is one goal you'd like to achieve in 2021?  
Back in September 2020, when the second wave of the virus was about to hit Switzerland, I decided to use the time wisely and look for some opportunities for my personal development and growth. As a result, I’m currently attending a further education course. If everything goes well and I manage to pass the Cantonal examination in June, I should get my diploma in Event Management.