Back to the office - of barrier tape and forbidden cake

Finally the time has come: 50 percent of the employees are allowed to return to the office. How the return is organised and how the Merkle employees stay healthy in the office is reported by an editor in a blog post

Docking station in your pocket, disinfectant in your hand and mask on your nose: the first steps into the new normality are still unusual. After more than a hundred days of loneliness in the home office, I am returning to Merkle's Munich office today. I can't wait to see what I'll find when I get there.

Return to the office - the first day

Hinter dem Tresen
Sympathetic reception despite distance: front office in the Munich Namics office.

The first reception in the office is cordial, but literally distant: Our office manager Grit now has a plexiglass panel in front of her to protect her. Fortunately, her grin is also clearly visible behind the pane. The barrier tape on the floor clearly indicates that distance is currently the order of the day.

On to the desk. Before I can sit down, "Stop!" sounds from the other side of the room. That's right, before the actual work, there is already something to do: The desk needs cleaning. After that, I also need half an hour until all cables and devices are properly connected again. 

Merkle has allowed its employees to take home equipment such as monitors, docking stations and connection cables for the lockdown. This equipment in the home office has made work extremely easy: as an online editor, I absolutely need a large screen to compare texts or track down even the smallest typos.

Surprisingly, it is quieter in the office than at home. Before Corona it was rather the other way around. One reason for this is that for the time being only 50 percent of the employees return to their original workplace. Merkle thus ensures that a healthy distance is maintained between occupied desks. 

On the other hand, I have several neighbours at home who discovered their penchant for craftsmanship during Corona. Drilling, sawing and hammering as background music have accompanied my work in the home office over the last few weeks.

People in the office are also much more cooperative than my four-legged colleague at home: In contrast to my cat, they don't throw pens or press the enter key spontaneously, but take upcoming video calls into consideration.

Cat und Guy
The colleagues in the office are not so fluffy, but at least as nice.

Weird, but useful - this is how occupational safety works in Corona times

The return to the office during Corona times sometimes requires unusual measures:

  • Make a Wish

To keep everyone in the office healthy, hygiene has top priority. Before and after work, the desk must therefore be wiped with disinfectant. You should keep this in mind when you want to make a video call quickly in the morning or have to catch a certain train in the evening...

  • Book instead of search

The usable desks are distributed in such a way that there is sufficient space between the employees. In order to prevent all Merkle employees from scurrying through the office looking for a workstation, we have to book the seats online in advance. In case of an infection it is easier to track who was in which office and when.

  • No cake

At Merkle, we have always been big cake fans: After a short time, usually only crumbs are left over from a birthday cake you brought along. But at the moment cakes - and similar culinary souvenirs - are forbidden. But there is still ice cream - the only allowed alternative tastes better in summer anyway...

Back to office vs. home office: my conclusion

Of course, the home office has many advantages: there is no need to travel, the jogging pants are just as suitable as the business outfit and the distance to the coffee machine is significantly shorter...

Nevertheless, I have greatly missed the direct exchange with my colleagues in recent months. Virtual meetings simply don't have the same flair as a lunch break together in the meadow.

In the office, everyday work in Corona times is not quite "business as usual". However, I am sure that after a few days I will have got used to the minimal restrictions. In any case, the joint return of colleagues to unfamiliar conditions strengthens the team spirit - and that counts most in Corona times...

Step 1
Treat yourself: A whole range of disinfectants is available directly at the Namics entrance.
Step 2
Occupational safety in Corona times: If there are too many people in the meeting room, masks are mandatory.
Step 3
The desks now bear numbers and can be reserved online via a booking system.