The Remote Logbook saga continues as working from home is becoming the new normalcy for most. Except for the odd visit in the office, we are still here for you from our homes. In our third entry, Sebastian Hartmann digitally welcomes us into his work and living space. Let’s take a look at what the daily business of our Sourcing Manager currently looks like.
As a Sourcing Manager at Alphabet International, Sebastian is in close contact with all our country teams and external services partners. He makes sure the sourcing department speaks with a common voice. He is also the daddy of a 5-year-old son.
Sebastian, how is working from home?
Over the years, I have worked from home plenty of times, but never for such a long stretch of time. My desk used to be in my son’s room.
Used to be?
Well, yes, he basically evicted me now, after a while of lockdown – I don’t blame him. When I worked from home before, he would be in kindergarten, playing with a friend or something of the likes so I had the room mostly to myself. My wife and I were able to coordinate that accordingly. With the kindergarten and daycares closing, he has stayed at home with me these last few weeks. My wife is a physician, so we two boys have been holding the fort most of the day so to speak.
We have found a mutually satisfactory solution. I moved my office to the bedroom.
Your diplomatic skills probably came in handy there. How much do you have to rely on them for your work?
To find consensus between the country teams and our partners, to figure out what everybody expects and what they can offer is a constant negotiation. I mean that in a positive way – it requires some listening and, yes, diplomatic skills.
Has that changed at all in recent weeks?
Yes, it is somewhat different now. With the difficult situation in many countries, certainties are hard to come by at the moment. Providing some sort of stability is a much bigger part of what I do now. For example, it pays off now that we have maintained close and trustful contact with our partners for a long time. We don’t have to start from scratch to find common grounds. There is a real closing of the ranks and people are helping each other out.
Is this reflected in the general mood?
What everybody everywhere is coming to realize now, I think, is that professionalism and being a human – having to improvise more often at the moment, to struggle and worry sometimes – are absolutely compatible concepts. That makes communication easier and brings people closer together.
Do you take anything else away from the situation?
It’s very interesting to me how well you can settle into a new routine. Now that my son is back in kindergarten, I’m more often the one who brings him there and picks him up. I prepare and pack his snacks and so on, besides doing my job. And it works well so far. This might sound a bit cliché-like, but I think this might be the beginning of a new way we perceive work. I like it!
Thank you, Sebastian, for taking the time and us into your home office!