Skype and the office

Skype is a wonderful invention, allowing you to communicate (for free!) with friends and family even when you are thousands and thousands of kilometers away from each other. Although the number of people I actually Skype (or voice call) with can be counted on the fingers of one hand, I do appreciate the chat function a lot. But until I moved abroad, I never used Skype for anything but personal business: talking to the loved ones and chatting with friends from all corners of the world.

But that was all before I decided to try my luck on the foreign job market. That meant Skype interviews. I think I messed up one or two interviews before I started to feel a little bit more comfortable about it. By that time I had already ruined my chances with the Netherlands Embassy in Turkey, as I had forgotten that looking at the person on the other side of the line means all he/she sees is you staring at the screen for the full length of the conversation – so very impolite! I still prefer the face-to-face interviews though, as at least the company will reward you for your travelling efforts with a little more than 10 minutes of their time – as has been the case with more than one of my Skype interviews!

Now, companies in Germany take Skype usage to a whole different level. Whereas in other parts of the world we use telephones, emails or even simply walk-ins, the Germans use Skype. For everything. Want to talk to the colleague on the 10th floor? Use skype. Want to talk to your neighbour? Also use Skype. Coming from a small company where basically everyone was sitting in the same room and simply asking whatever needed to be asked whenever it needed to be asked, moving to Germany was a shock. Even though people were still sitting in the same room, they were only conversing via Skype. The silence almost drove me crazy that first day, but once I got to know my colleagues it was never really quiet anymore. It was still quiet in the office, but conversations shifted to Skype, which meant an increase in productivity for those not immediately involved in it. Skype does have its advantages, you know.

Today I started my new job at yet another company in Hamburg. The first thing I had to do after arrival (before even signing my contract :P) was to create yet another Skype account. Yup, in this company too communication takes place over Skype. My own little office does not even have a single telephone, even though five of us eventually are going to work there. Yup, this is a company life 2.0, and Skype is ruling it!

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Photo credits: Luke Jones/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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