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Klara Herman, Communications and Public Relations

I joined at the end of 2020 when the COVID-19 epidemic was at its peak. Even though I have been employed at Arnes for more than 15 years, taking on new work tasks, getting to know new colleagues and adjusting to team dynamics felt challenging

Work from home limited face-to-face interactions and sometimes resulted in slower information flows. Hence, Zoom proved to be the best option for teaming up and meeting new co-workers.  Nevertheless, we humans are very flexible. As quickly as we mastered new communication modes, we grasped the importance of a good team climate and mutual trust in our abilities and knowledge.

Despite the lack of various forms of informal socializing, such as coffee in the kitchen, that many of us find invaluable, I find that Zoom has contributed to the improvement of one-on-one communication. We feel safer and more comfortable expressing our opinions at home, enabling more productive meetings, better task completion and greater employee satisfaction.

I knew the team even before I officially joined it. It led me to believe that quality inclusion is also a reflection of preceding relationships and ties. In that light, I have a hard time imagining how I would feel like a new employee who is just entering the labour market does not have the opportunity to meet my colleagues in person.

I perceive employment at the as a reward and a validation of my professional interests in contemporary communication challenges, a topic that I addressed during my studies at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana. I wrote my master’s thesis for a long time, losing quite a few bets down the road because of unrealistic graduation milestones. My hypotheses were refuted as well. Sounds like a total disaster, doesn’t it? I assure you, it is not.  We should all learn from our mistakes, learn how to accept criticism and, most importantly, praise good things.  Hence, one has to appreciate good professional and personal relationships. Even if these relationships do not make everyone happy all the time, they must be honest.

A year after making the abrupt shift to working from home, we learned how important formal and informal interests are. All the socializing during the pandemic is planned (Zoom1 at 11:15, Zoom2 at 12:45, …) and spontaneous interactions, as they were across offices, are no more. However, as a very connected team, we have developed very friendly relationships and we meet outside of working hours even in these “new times”. Some are hiking, others are cycling, some get together for blood donation campaigns.

All of the communication skills mastered before the pandemic help us to manage and finish our projects successfully. Precisely because of this, I will be an eternal advocate of face-to-face employee interaction, even if they get to meet a few times a month only.

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