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Part one of the theme: On-site in the pandemic

Published Feb 15, 2021

For a year, we have been living with the pandemic that rapidly changed many of us' working lives. The day-to-day work on campus switched to working from home and remote teaching – but not for all KTH employees.

In a series of articles with the theme of "working at KTH during the pandemic," a few of our colleagues, who for various reasons cannot work remotely full-time, recount what it has been like to be and work at a deserted KTH.

"There's no big difference"

Per Sköld is a technician at the Division of Nuclear Power Safety at the School of Engineering Sciences (SCI).

Photo: A man wearing a blue lab coat in front of some computers in a lab.
Per Sköld in the Nuclear Power Safety lab. Photo: Andrei Komlev

In the two garage-like labs on the KTH campus, temperatures can range from 50 to over 3000 degrees. Water jets are used for cooling, and research on fourth-generation reactors is conducted. Pandemic or not, these activities must continue - and Per Sköld is on-site eight hours a day, five days a week, working to promote the safe use of nuclear power in Sweden and the rest of the world.

"I'm the only technician here, and I help the researchers to get the equipment in order before and during the experiments," he says, mentioning that there is little difference compared to before the pandemic because he is used to working in a small group. 

"But obviously, we need to plan a little more now about who will be on-site at certain times. He brings packed lunches instead of eating out, and the team meetings are in Zoom.

Per Sköld takes his car to work instead of using public transport. Life is chugging along, and he looks forward to new challenges at work.

"In one of the labs, we're building a relatively large and advanced installation. It is heated by induction, where a 150kW induction generator provides the heat, and temperature measurement is partly done using optical fibres. It's an exciting and interesting project," says Per Sköld.

Words: Sofia Nyström

"I've become an expert at eating 'digital lunch' with people"

Zippy Brandt works as a Record Manager at the School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM).

A person with white gloves and a folder in their hands. To the right, there is a rainbow flag
Zippy Brandt finds it energising to see the stack of documents shrink and hold the papers in the hands. Photo: Anna Gullers

When the pandemic made its entrance, Zippy Brandt had to change the way of working. Now they alternate working on campus and from home, according to need.

Zippy Brandt on what a working day might look like:

"I start at home, reading my e-mails to make sure that nothing urgent needs to be resolved on campus. Then I take the opportunity to help administrators or prepare a presentation. It works great to do that kind of work at home, undisturbed.

Once the worst of the morning rush hour is over, Zippy Brandt puts on the mask and takes the commuter train to campus to scan documents or work among the shelves in the archive, sometimes until late at night.

"A lot needs to be done physically, such as sorting and assessing documents and archiving signed papers." "I like the tactile aspect of my job," they say, adding:

"I find it energising to see the stack of documents shrink and hold the papers in my hands."

However, Zippy Brandt misses their lunch buddies.

"A lot of people think that all archivists are loners who thrive best down in dark basement archives, but I'm both nerdy and social. I've become an expert at eating 'digital lunch' with people, but of course, it's not the same as seeing each other in person.

On the post-pandemic future:

"I'll continue to work thematically. Some days of physical archiving work and other days for planning, for example. And so I hope to continue working in different places. I like having a change of scenery.

Words: Ulrika Georgsson

In the next article with the theme "On-site in the pandemic"

A profile photo of a young woman with dark hair.
Léa Zuili

"It feels a bit lonely to be here in the lab" – Léa Zuili, Intern at the School of Engineering Sciences

A man in a White shirt and a red fly.
Björn Nordbäck

"It gets pretty boring" – Björn Nordbäck, a curator at the School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Health

Page responsible:Marianne Norén
Belongs to: Current
Last changed: Feb 15, 2021