On-site in the pandemic, part two
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.
"It gets pretty boring."
Björn Nordbäck works at the School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Health (CBH) as a curator in the infrastructure group.
It is almost empty in KTH Flemingsberg's long administration corridor. The only person present is Björn Nordbäck.
" I am not working from home at all. It happens maybe twice a semester that I take half a day from a distance. I am usually on-site from 06.30 am to half-past three in the afternoon", he says and continues:
" My work has a lot of practical elements that can not be handled remotely, for example, to receive tradesmen and installation technicians in the building. Now our caretaker is on sick leave too, so I take care of the mail handling and goods reception too."
As Björn Nordbäck is still in the office, he helps colleagues from other units working from home with small practical things, such as scanning documents. Usually, there are other colleagues to talk to in the building, but in addition to the sick caretaker, the IT technician has just slipped and broken his foot.
" Yes, it gets quite boring and a little difficult to have social contact when there are very few colleagues present. But some teachers are here, and the school's infrastructure group has a zoom meeting every day. And every morning, I have a morning fika with the staff from the Swedish Red Cross University College who are working upstairs."
How do you avoid feeling bored?
"It's a bit problematic. But I try to be here, fixing some stuff and have good music in the office."
Words: Kenneth Carlsson
"It feels a bit empty to be here in the lab."
Léa Zuili, Intern at the Division of Materials and Nanophysics at the School of Engineering Sciences (SCI).
Outside in the expanding campus area of Albano, life is steaming as usual with construction workers and noise. Inside the newly built House 3, the lack of hum of voices from research colleagues is reminiscent of another reality.
"It feels a bit empty to be here in the lab. At most, we are three people at the same time. I need to be here to carry out my experiments and use special software, says Léa Zuili, who is currently developing a model that can be the future solution to the world's fresh water shortage through a particular desalination technology.
She feels lucky to have had the chance to come from France to KTH to do her internship but tells about how the pandemic causes leisure activities problems.
"I planned to visit museums, take a sauna and have a visit from my parents, but instead I go hiking in beautiful nature.
Words: Sofia Nyström