Greetings from the home office - Episode 20: Urs Jenni, Jenni Kommunikation

In our series "Greetings from the home office", we visit Urs Jenni, a real PR professional, in his own four walls for the first time. He founded Jenni Kommunikation in 1993 and is now - more than 25 years later - confronted with new challenges.

Jenni Kommunikation

Urs Jenni Owner and Managing Director of the PR agency Jenni Kommunikation, which he founded in 1993. Jenni describes himself as an "active bon vivant who enjoys intellectual and culinary challenges." How long have you been in a home office?

Urs Jenni: From the 9th of March we did the first test runs, since the 16th of March completely in the home office.


Is your entire agency in a home office?

We have an employee who holds down the fort in the office, I go to the agency on the weekends and at least every other evening.


Did you face any technical problems while setting up your workstation?

No. The corresponding setup took place at my home about two years ago, at my deputy the workstation was set up and tested in Q4 2019. Only the bandwidth at home fluctuates somewhat strongly and in the office we will certainly replace some devices after the pandemic.


Where have you set up shop?

I have a kind of mini bay window in my apartment, which serves as my study. If I need more space or want to have some view, I sit down at the big dining room table.

Jenni Kommunikation

What do you need to be able to do your job?

Very important: a fresh juice in the morning. No, seriously, a notebook, headphones, mobile phone, notepad and my Yard-O-Led pen, which I received as a gift when I founded my agency 27 years ago, a printer and softphone client on the notebook and a desk phone that is directly connected to the office network. I also have video conferencing tools and a good internet connection to make sure everything works properly.


Do you have home office experience or is this a first?

As communications consultants, we are used to flexibility and occasionally work from our home office. I'm also familiar with this from travelling, then simply the hotel room or a coffee house becomes the home office. But to this extent it is clearly a first.


Based on the first experiences: Which processes are difficult compared to the normal agency routine?

We are used to being able to access the knowledge in the team at any time, as we usually all work within visual distance of each other. A quick glance and it's clear whether you can briefly interrupt someone at work and ask/discuss something or whether it's better to wait. Moods are also clearly visible when you know each other so well. This is not the case in the home office and this spontaneous exchange is certainly more complicated.


Which jobs go smoothly?

There are currently no restrictions, everything works smoothly.


Is there anything that even works easier or more productively in the home office?

I generally work even more concentrated, as interruptions are mostly eliminated and, apart from a few ad hoc questions, we communicate with each other at fixed times. I hear the same from the team.


What do they do about the ceiling falling on your head?

I plan menus and look for ideas for new dishes. I've also turned my reading room into a mini-gym, regularly use the exercise bike and watch a film. Dumbbells and a yoga mat invite me to exercise and relax. In addition, about 20 books are waiting to be read. Every now and then, I sit on the balcony and read, provided the construction noise right outside my front door isn't too loud.

Jenni Kommunikation

What do you miss most about the physical day-to-day life of an agency?

I really miss the spontaneous exchange with the team, which is not made up for by the morning daily meeting via video call and various one2one conversations. I also miss the feeling of hustle and bustle, the excitement of working on a project or proposal for clients, sitting together for pitches and seeing how our heads start to smoke. We will take away learnings from the crisis that will certainly help optimize our future work.


Are you confident that your agency/company will come through the crisis unscathed?

In this respect, the question is whether we will see a recovery of the economy in the form of a V, U, long U or, in the worst case, L curve. From today's perspective, we will survive in all scenarios, but we will probably have to lose some ground - the longer the crisis lasts, the more.


As we all know, everything has its positive sides. What is it in your current home office situation?

Quite clearly a deceleration. For example, I save myself the trip to work and start the day less tense. And I really like the fact that I can now use my gas stove really often.


What would you like to give your colleagues in the industry to take with them on their way through the crisis?

Try to make the best of the situation and incorporate positive learnings into agency development.


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