Since 16th March, Austria is in shut down. Hence, the European Wilderness Society decided to send all its employees into home office until restrictions lift again. So, for three and a half weeks, everybody has been working from home. Let´s hear and see how everyone is doing:
Since we have always been a pan-European organization working from different locations in Europe, home office, video conferences and remote access are nothing new to us. However, the current situation is also new for us. Our office in Tamsweg, the headquarters of the European Wilderness Society, is deserted. Theoffice has moved to the digital space, where we try to keep up soical interaction while practising physical distancing.
United for our cause
While most of the team remained in Tamsweg, the strict Austrian restrictions mean we cannot see each other in person, even though we are just 10 min apart. They also delayed the arrival of our two new volunteers, Viki and Gintare. Even though they cannot start their volunteering before restrictions are lifted and they can join the team in Tamsweg, they using their newly found free time to get a head start.
Please also read: You are also at home and want to you use your time for a good cause? Help us translate!
For some, home office is buisness as usual
Vlado Vancura, our Deputy Chairman, is working from his home in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia, as he always does. But since he is a real man of the Wild, he splits his time between his home office and his second home, a cabin in the Tatra mountains.
I am used to home office. I have been working like that for the last 20 years. Nevertheless, random face-to-face contacts with my colleagues and partners are critically important. Luckily, digital tools like video chats make it easier. However, it is still a challenge to fully rely on them. So, this a good opportunity for me practice these new digital communication tools and detect new options.
Iryna Shchoka, our Educational Manager in the Ukraine, is also used to home office. However, she now also has to home school her three kids, so loneliness or boredom are the least of her problems.
Working in home office is not new for me, being a mother of three kids. However, I miss traveling and business trips. Nevertheless, the current situation provides us with new opportunities, for example more time to finalize a lot of paper work, as well as further introduce online communication and trainings. Anyway, I am looking forward to the time, when outdoor group activities are allowed again and when we can again jointly discover Wilderness and implement “Respect Nature” principles in the field.
One office turns into five home offices
In Tamsweg, everybody is also settling down in their home office. While some have the luxury to be isolated with a big family, others cannot even find a photographer for a photo of them in their home office…
Nevertheless, the sheer beauty of the Lungau, while spring is setting in, makes this time much easier for everyone. While long hikes must be postponed, even an hour of walking or cycling provide a welcome escape into nature.
Home office enables me to be more flexible with my workspace, which ranges from a hammock in my garden to beautiful places in nature close to home.
One personal positive side of the home office? I can walk in my socks. And I can take my tea-drinking habits to another level.
Our new volunteers are eager to start
As already mentioned, we planned to take two new IVY volunteers on board starting on the first of April. Even though their start in Tamsweg was delayed due to the current situation, Viki and Gintare are using their newly found free time to support us from home. They are working from their homes in Orleans, France and Vilnius, Lithuania, respectively.
I really enjoy working from home because that saves me travel time to and from work, which is normally one hour per day for me. In the morning it means I can sleep longer and in the evening I have more free time.
News from our contact point in Italy
We also got some news from the epicenter of the Covid-19 spread in Europe, Nothern Italy – more specifically Milano, one of the cities with the stricted lockdown. Mauro Belardi and the other staff of Eliante, our contact point in Italy, started working from home on 9th March.
Many of their projects on human-wildlife coexistence are heavily impacted by the current situation. Most of their work in the field will be paused for a long time, but they are still working hard to help local communities. Some areas of their Pasturs project are amongst the worst affected by Covid-19 like the Seriana Valley. So, they are planning a crowdfunding campaign to help the rural communities. While wildlifes thrives in the now empty mountains, pastoralism in the Alps faces serious issues, if restricetd movement continues into the summer season. Many shepherds spend their winters far away and have to travel to return to the herds.
We wish all readers a great Easter weekend despite the current situation.