"I often don't get to talk to anyone during a working day"

Casper Dich Dyssel (top left), Søren Westfall Just (top right), Mette Abildtrup (bottom left) and Rasmus Christiansen (bottom right) all feel the consequences of not being able to see their colleagues. Photos: Private

Corona fatigue has taken hold among IDA-members, and while some are struggling with loneliness, others have discovered new dreams. We asked 5 Danes from IDA what the past months have done to their working life.

Corona fatigue has made its entrance among IDA’s members, new research by IDA shows.

Young people in particular are seriously affected on their job satisfaction. Every second respondent in the age group under 30 say that their well-being is worse than under normal circumstances.

On the other hand, 47% of the 30-49-year-olds answer that in recent months they have had a better balance between leisure and working life than before the pandemic.

In common for the majority, however, is that they miss the daily contact with colleagues.

We have asked five Danes with a background in science, engineering or IT about their working life three months into the second lockdown.

Caspar Dich Dyssel, 48, Consulting Engineer, EKJ

“The first period, I had actually broken my neck, so I had to stay home. But because everyone was so willing to have Teams meetings, my situation did not cause any trouble.

We have managed the restrictions well, but a few weeks ago, face masks were introduced at work, so now I work more from home. There has been a subdued mood, I think, and we do not talk so much to each other in the hallway anymore.

But I won’t let it ruin my mood. I am perhaps a little disappointed that we, as scientists, have been so quiet in the debate. We need more apolitical pragmatism, and that is what we are best at.

In return, we have suddenly learned to hold online meetings. The technological development has previously been ahead of demand, but now we are beginning to take it to heart.

I have always been a little skeptical about the idea that in the future you do not need an office to work from. Now I actually think we can go that route. It is no longer so difficult to imagine that you could live abroad and work in Denmark.”

Søren Westfall Just, 39, technical project manager, OK

“People are starting to get tired now. In the beginning, we just had to find each other, and then we got on a track where things ran well. But I hope to see a re-opening soon now.

OK is a very social workplace where people care about each other, and you can feel that we are suffering from that now. Instead of small talk at the coffee machine, one must now make an effort to maintain the relationships with colleagues. Also for my own part. I do not see many people. I live alone, so it has also meant that it has suddenly become very empty.

But we've really kept the steam going all the way through. We just had to find some new ways to do things, but it's actually succeeding really well.

We have discovered that we do not have to travel across the country to hold a meeting. It can easily happen over Teams. One should not underestimate a physical start-up meeting with a partner. But you may not need to meet once a week. We will do this virtually to a much greater extent in the future.”

Mette Abildtrup, 46, Grundfos, construction engineer and project manager

“The worst part is that I, as the project manager, have to ensure that everyone follows the restrictions and make sure that they do not have illness in the household. You cannot come to your desk or meet somewhere with a test older than a week. And we have to wear face masks when we walk around.

I have hardly been to the office in Bjerringbro since December. So, I work from home 5 days a week, except when I have to supervise a construction site.

In our own small department, we are good at having Teams meetings and calling each other individually. But the distance to our colleagues in the other departments is getting huge. We forget that the others exist and then you just run your own race. This is a huge problem, because if we do not get the operation involved in the construction process, then it does not fit into their systems.

But personally, I think it's nice to be more at home. It's great to be there when the kids get up, send them off to school and be there when they get home. It just gives a nice sense of calm. ”

Rasmus Christiansen, 26, Engineering Consultant, Dansk Ingeniørservice

“Overall, corona has actually been positive for me.

In my job, I drive out to customers pretty much every day and across long distances. That's how people like it. But now my daily transport time has gone very close to zero. It has made my everyday life more connected.

I'm relatively young, so it suits me well to run things digitally when you might as well do so. And I have a good working environment at home.

But I haven’t seen my colleagues much. That affects me a little indirectly, without me noticing it. When I talk to people, I can feel a boost in my mood and my energy. I often don't get to talk to anyone during a working day.”

Lene Jespersen, 57, professor of microbiology, University of Copenhagen

“At the beginning of the lockdown, we had to very quickly switch to a hybrid process, which presented a number of technological and practical challenges. Especially because we have large courses with up to 80 students who all must have lectures, theoretical and practical exercises. Many of these activities were run in three-team shifts, which naturally added an extra workload.

Especially after Christmas, it has been particularly difficult for both teachers and students to stay motivated, and there is a general feeling of fatigue. It is difficult to get through 4 hours of Zoom meetings/teaching a day. Everyone feels a great personal responsibility, and there is a lack of professional interaction with colleagues and management.

And yes, we have become a little more efficient at meetings, but it's a double-edged sword. I do research projects with companies and international researchers, and we simply need to be able to look each other in the eye and see the actual production in a company to understand it. International collaborations are particularly affected, as it is difficult to build and maintain the network that is so important for generating new research ideas and coming together for larger applications.”