Kamp-Bornhofen / Mainz – Working in the home office takes time to get used to, according to the Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD). “Technically, all of this is completely unproblematic. In these times, you can do everything you do in the office with a cell phone, tablet, and laptop, ”said Lewentz of the German Press Agency after working at his desk for two weeks. Personally, however, this type of work is a major change for him: “I like being with people, I like talking to people very much. That has completely disappeared, “said the 57-year-old. “It’s a different kind of work than I’ve been used to for decades.”
Ten to twelve hours of calls and video switching daily are exhausting, the minister said. “In the evening you are pretty empty in your head.” However, there are also advantages. “Sometimes you take the opportunity to make phone calls that you might otherwise have put off. It is another kind of human closeness that you can work out. ”
“Home office is a work situation that is different but very intense,” said Lentz. Many people and entrepreneurs from his home country would have used his home office to call him. People wanted to express advice, a means of mediation or their need. “These are difficult times for many people.”
In contact with his four adult children, his wife and mother in a retirement home, he caught a large part of the spectrum of the pandemic. His wife is sewing mouthguards at home, the youngest daughter (21) is currently continuing her studies in the Netherlands online from home. One of the sons had moved in with the Bundeswehr for medical services, the other continued to work as a carpenter and one daughter was working in the nursing home while studying.
Lewentz is convinced that work in the home office will surely lead to more virtual conferences even after the Corona crisis. “It is an experience that is sure to bear a part after the crisis: Not every meeting has to be organized by bringing people from all over the country together.”
As a precaution, Lewentz had worked from home for two weeks after being in direct contact with a person who later tested positive for a corona infection. Like Prime Minister Malu Dreyer and Minister of Health Sabine Batzing-Lichtenthaler (all SPD), he had been classified as “Category II contact person”. However, he had no symptoms of Covid-19 disease, tests were negative. From Tuesday, he will now work in the ministry office again.
The classification of the three Rhineland-Palatinate government members differs from that of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). She is in quarantine at home because she had direct contact with a doctor who later tested positive and who had given her a preventive pneumococcal vaccination.
According to the Minister of the Interior, the population has understood that it is a matter of protecting everyone’s health. “She is very disciplined and responsible with it.” Lewentz does not see any easing for the time being. “We have to go through this together for a while.” The next three weeks – until April 19, the provisions would definitely continue to apply. “You will then have to judge how it will continue.” Lewentz advises: “People should be prepared for the fact that it can continue until May.”