Arriving at the agency just before 8 am in the industrial city of Essen. What used to be a daily struggle to find the elusive parking spot on the street in front of the agency has relaxed somewhat as more and more people in our agency and in surrounding businesses work from home during the pandemic. A short walk to the front door gives you enough time to put your mask on before entering the building. Wearing a mask in the agency is now mandated by management in the halls and lavatories and in interactions with co-workers.
Soap and disinfectant are plentiful, and a wall mounted clinical thermometer has been permanently installed in the company kitchen so that socially distanced employees can always take their temperature at the same time they get their morning cappuccino.
It feels like a long time since we greeted each other with a firm handshake or a friendly hug, and it’s been ages since we drank champagne and orange juice to celebrate a birthday, wedding or successful project together. The changes weigh heavily on all of us, but the tradeoff is that we can say that we have not yet had a single incident of COVID-19 among our team. We have had a couple of scares, but so far, no positive cases. The precautions have paid off with a healthy workforce and this in a region that has seen a recent spike in cases. Our workflow, in spite of all these changes, is decidedly different, but not compromised. We are still as efficient as before Corona reared its ugly head. Many employees are working at home, so meetings take place in a video conference app, and for those of us still in the agency our meetings are held with social distancing and masks.
Agency life definitely feels different. But we are happy to be healthy and able to stay engaged with our clients and our projects. In spite of the pandemic, life was, and still is, beautiful! And we don’t mean this in a preachy way or to brag about our success. We are, after all, hopeful that all of our friends and business partners whom we have come to know over the years will also come out healthy on the other side of this trying time. But one thing we have realized through this whole ordeal is that the age-old wisdom holds true “If you want to put the world in order, you go through your own house first.”