The year 2020 will go down as the year in which societies changed worldwide. As a new virus spread rapidly, we all had to adapt. For most people, these changes are most visible in their working environment. Many of us had to swap an office they were so used to for a home office, away from colleagues. Some of us, who started new jobs right before the corona crisis, have even spent more time working from home than in their new office. Jochem Pasmans, Project Coordinator at Vintage Productions, tells us what that has been like for him.
“I started working at Vintage in December of 2019. With a first working experience in sales in the bag, I finally decided it was time to move in the direction I wanted to be in: communications. Coming from a completely different sector I knew I had a lot to learn and during the first weeks at Vintage I did just that. I was immediately involved in several projects, from the creative brainstorms at the beginning down to the coordination of the smallest practical things. All of this, while meeting new colleagues and breathing in the new environment. And then, COVID-19 hit Belgium.
When Belgium went in lockdown, this new environment was abruptly taken away from me. I struggled with that, mostly because of the social aspect that comes along with a new job. I had only just started to build collegial relationships and I was still finding my place in the team. Having to do that from a home office is just not the same as when you are surrounded by coworkers. Luckily, the Vintage team organises a conference call every day to keep each other posted, and to keep the team spirit high. These cafés, as we call them, really help.
On the professional level, the lockdown raised some questions too: How would it affect my learning curve? How would it affect my task package, as it was still getting shape? Would help be easily available when needed? Etc.
Especially, because the first job I got in my home office required me to work with tools and technical software I had never seen before. I used a lot of trial and error to complete the task and tried to solve things on my own more often than I would have, had colleagues been closer by. But whenever I got really stuck, colleagues were always just a phone call away, and explanations via screensharing happen to be just as effective as real-life instructions.
Project coordination and working together becomes a lot more complex when the team is not physically close because you can’t just turn your head or walk to someone’s desk to ask a question. That was difficult in the beginning, but I have been given a lot of room to find my own way of working around this. Which means that I handled some things with success, while some things I could have handled better. You learn a lot from the latter, so did corona put a brake on my learning curve? Absolutely not! If anything, it made me learn faster. And I am finding my place in the team too.
Still, I hope that we will be back at the office sooner or later so I can really say that I work ‘at’ Vintage. I would like to be among my new colleagues because – and I know this cheesy – even in virtual times they did everything to make me feel part of the team.”