I am particularly strained by the financial situation: I work more, but I am mostly busy organizing. I have just applied for short-time work for my employees. It’s not a nice feeling, but I can cover part of the cost with it. I don’t know how long we can hold out, but there will be a solution. This attitude may be naive, but it is better than going completely crazy.
What makes me positive: the exchange with my colleagues. In our profession, you actually work a lot on your own. We are currently trying to relieve each other. The team will continue to benefit from this after the crisis. ”
The expert advises: It is perfectly normal for the self-employed to be afraid. “Ms. Müller should not completely suppress her fears, but face the situation,” says Hannes Zacher, professor of industrial psychology at the University of Leipzig. Helpful: Establish a new everyday life – even if it is difficult. “Nobody can work in a state of emergency full of fear for weeks.”
Zacher advises that you keep yourself informed about current developments in order to assess threats and ways out – but only in limited time windows. The rest of the day, you should develop a routine. “It is not naive, but important to think about positive aspects,” says Zacher.
The analyst: Just don’t whine!
To person: Christian Thon * runs a branch of a large German bank and has a dozen employees. He is in his mid-30s and lives in the Ruhr area.
This is how he experiences the crisis: “I’m not worried about my job. But how long does the bank last? It gives me a headache if previously solvent customers can no longer make their payments in the long term and the share prices slip. I now work one week each in the home office and the other in the branch in order to reduce the risk of infection.
My understanding of the situation grows day by day, even if it was initially difficult for me to revive the lightness in everyday life. By now I could go on with the weekly rotation forever. Some colleagues are still struggling with the technology, but that is becoming less. Most get the best out of the situation.
I do more in the home office because there are no walk-in customers. In addition, the kitchen is closer, the sun shines in my room – unlike in the office. What bothers me is that some people who are in good health and have no financial hardships are always just moaning. And if I can wish for something: that the world emerges from the crisis in a more sustainable and digital way. ”
The expert advises: Staying pragmatic, analyzing the situation, weighing up advantages and disadvantages as rationally as possible – for industrial psychologist Zacher, Thon’s behavior is exactly the right thing to do in the pandemic. “Fear narrows the perspective and causes shock rigidity.”
Better: One should try to recognize the chances of the pandemic – like Thon. “It gives the feeling of being able to control the situation somehow.” Inappropriate pragmatism can, however, be dangerous if you downplay the real problems.
The unconcerned: Little to do, fully paid
To person: Silke Max * is a primary school teacher in the Aachen area. Initially, the 28-year-old had to go to school for emergency care, and she has been bored at home for three weeks.
This is how she experiences the crisis: “After all, I don’t have to worry about my job despite the school closing. As a civil servant, I continue to get my normal salary and know that it will continue. But I miss the job, I especially want to see my students again.
Even before the crisis, our school was not prepared for digital lessons. We don’t even have WiFi to be able to play music or videos to the children. Now that annoys me all the more: the few good apps available for primary school children are so overloaded that they don’t work.
Nevertheless, all colleagues and parents worked hand in hand here and managed to send the teaching materials to the children. I was surprised that not all children can use a computer – and that some parents don’t even have an email address.
I’d like to try online classes, but of course that’s not possible. Everything is bobbing right now, and I feel a bit useless. I have already contacted Caritas neighborhood help. ”
The expert advises: The job is safe, so is the income – civil servant status is particularly convenient in the corona pandemic. But: “A secure income alone does not make you happy,” says industrial psychologist Zacher. “Without meaningful professional activity and social contacts, our identity and quality of life will be lost.”
It is good that Ms. Max uses her free time to volunteer. “People who show solidarity get through the crisis better.”
The optimist: opportunities in the crisis
To person: Otto Linke *, 40, comes from the Ruhr area and is department head at a European-wide retail company.
This is how he experiences the crisis: “It’s a strange feeling that almost all branches in Europe had to close. We don’t make any money that long, but there are assurances from the government – although I cannot assess whether they are enough.
I am confident that the measures in China have been relaxed and normalcy is returning. I hope that we will continue on April 19th – it is already one of the biggest crises for our company. Everything that goes beyond that date, I suppress a little. After all, all colleagues are already in the starting blocks and want to step on the gas again.
I could have done without this experience, but I also see positive things: team spirit has improved and the crisis shows that we can also work well at home. I am happy to spend time with the family over Easter. That distracts from work. We had to cancel our vacation, but we have already made new plans. ”
The expert advises: “Anyone who is optimistic in the crisis will get through this time healthier,” says industrial psychologist Zacher – if optimism is appropriate. A positive-realistic attitude like at Linke helps to motivate and to make new plans. “However, if you fantasize that everything will be fine, you’re cheating yourself – and that’s unhealthy in the long run.”
Zacher advises Linke not to focus too much on April 19. “It makes sense to think in small steps, but he must not fall under the illusion that everything will be the same again from one day to the next.” The crisis is changing the world of work forever – despite all optimism.
The double burden: no longer at home alone
To person: Ute Wagner *, 46, lives in the Ruhr area and has always worked in the home office. Now the controller of a medium-sized IT company also has to take care of her six-year-old daughter – the kindergarten is tight because of the pandemic.
This is how she experiences the crisis: “The situation is difficult: my daughter misses her friends and wants to be employed. She did preschool exercises this week, but after an hour she was tired. And I have more to do every day: We have many new orders because dozens of companies buy computer technology for their employees’ home work – and I have to check the applications.
My husband is also in the home office, so I left the study to him and I’m sitting in the living room. My daughter especially keeps me there: The half-day job from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. can stretch over seven hours.
I have not yet found a strategy to balance education and work. I let the child watch TV now and then – sometimes three or four episodes in a row. “
The expert advises: Working parents and home authors are among the main victims of the crisis for career consultant and book author Cordula Nussbaum. “You are asked to do everything in your job and by the next generation. If you want to give 100 percent in both areas, you will fail. ”That is why it is currently okay to let the children watch TV longer, provided the TV program is suitable.
A sensible activity: having the children put the dishwasher in after the meal. Nussbaum advises Wagner to take turns taking care of children with her husband. “It would be better if she worked focused for three hours – and would do more than if she worked up for seven hours.”
The home office lover: Nice new home work
To person: Karsten Kurz *, 35, works in Düsseldorf as a service manager in the telecommunications industry. Even before the pandemic, he was in the home office two days a week.
This is how he experiences the crisis: “The home office saves me three hours of driving every day – time that is available to me for family and private projects. I was surprised how smoothly it runs, even though everyone is now in the home office.
What I find again and again: The work-life balance is better at home because I can react more flexibly – both in business and in private. In order not to work too much here, I have to discipline myself. Briefly interrupt the TV evening to send important information to the colleague or take the parcel from the postman – that’s okay, I think, but mustn’t get out of hand.
I have the advantage that my wife is on parental leave and taking care of our little daughter – and I can work in peace. Despite all the advantages: I lack the interpersonal, informal chat in the tea kitchen. I’ve called a few colleagues to stay in touch with them. ”
The expert advises: For career consultant Nussbaum, Kurz is very careful with home work. “He enjoys the advantages such as flexibility and time savings and is aware of the risks that work can take up too much space.” Those who sit in the home office for too long should set clear working hours and switch off their cell phones in the evenings.
It is also helpful to have a clear spatial separation so that professional and private life do not mix too much. “In order not to lose the so important floor radio and the informal exchange with colleagues, Kurz should regularly arrange a digital coffee drink via video conference.”
The unshakable: everyday life – despite Corona
To person: Andrea Eigenrauch * is a pharmaceutical technical assistant (PTA) and works in a Düsseldorf clinic. In the hospital pharmacy, the 40-year-old produces medication for cancer patients.
This is how she experiences the crisis: “I am lucky to have a job that is not affected by the crisis. Even my daily routine has not changed much due to the virus – the cancer is still there during Corona. In the breaks I have to sit separately from my colleagues and drive to the pharmacy by car, no longer by train.
A nice feeling is that I have not been infected so far, although I always have to leave the house to work. Although I do not have to worry about how I can meet the monthly costs, the crisis naturally concerns me: everything is uncertain and I am concerned about the other companies that may now be going bankrupt.
I want my friends to stay healthy, get through without losing their jobs, and hopefully we can see each other again in a few weeks or months. ”
The expert advises: The fact that Eigenrauch is happy about her personal work situation, even though others are worse off due to the pandemic, is by no means inappropriate, says industrial psychologist Zacher. “If you are lucky in the crisis and can continue your everyday life, you can be thankful and appreciate the situation.” That helps to stay mentally healthy.
There is no need to feel bad or even guilty about own smoking just because it does not affect the crisis. In such a situation, however, it is important not only to look at one’s own job, but to assess the overall situation in order to be able to react sensitively to the problems of others – just like the PTA does.
The annoyed: The pressure is out
To person: Martin Held * works as a master carpenter in a company with 250 employees in the Ruhr area. The pandemic annoys the 48-year-old.
This is how he experiences the crisis: “The company was divided into several areas. I work in project engineering and should now no longer go to the workshop or the machine room. Disinfectants are available everywhere, fever is measured every morning.
There was still a lot to do at the beginning of the crisis, but the first signs are that it will soon calm down. Then it means again: reducing overtime, taking vacation, short-time work – and hopefully no more. In the past, I had to change my job every four years because the company closed – now there are four more years … In any case, our largest customer has postponed almost all orders until the coming year. It’s frustrating!
What bothers me the most is that I don’t know when we can go back to work – hopefully that won’t be the case until late summer. The pressure is already out, some work here like in a civil servant’s booth. My initial displeasure has subsided a little: Maybe because I don’t have to go on short-time work – and now have two weeks of Easter vacation.
The expert advises: Letting off steam, being annoyed, scolding the virus – this can actually help to relieve stress in the short term as a cleansing thunderstorm and is always better than eating your anger into yourself – and maybe even becoming depressed.
“But after the controlled munching, there has to be an end,” says expert Nussbaum. “In the long term, hero should devote his energy to things that take him further.” Further training, for example. “Everything he invests in education will support him in the next crisis.”
* Name changed by the editors
More: Suddenly working from home – This is how newcomers succeed in working in their home office