From mountain top to home office and back
For our colleague Fabio Plachetta, exploring nature with his family is the best way to balance his everyday working life. As a young father, flexibility is very important to him, and he therefore decided to reduce his working week at Zühlke. This gives him enough time for all aspects of his life, but above all for his little daughter Mila. Even though the current situation does not make it any easier to separate work and family life, Fabio has found a way to deal with it.
When Fabio began working for Zühlke in Zürich as lead architect, he already knew that he would soon become a father. Immediately after the birth of his daughter, he reduced his working hours to 80% – and the fact that this went smoothly is still reflected in his daily work a year and a half later.
Fabio has managed to really combine work and family life
Self-determination and trust are the essential elements for Fabio when it comes to balancing family, job and hobbies. A traditional nine-to-five job would be unthinkable for him: in a young family, things don't always go according to plan. As a "beginner father", the fact that he can organise his working hours so flexibly means freedom for Fabio. No matter whether the daycare has to close, his daughter Mila is sick or a spontaneous outing looks appealing, it is no problem to postpone tasks or take an occasional day off. "Reducing the workload to 80 percent was also super easy. After I had announced that this is what I wanted to do, I only had to send a short email to HR and then everything was settled – without much hassle. With other companies, this was usually a rather big deal with bureaucratic challenges and also some uncertainties regarding insurance issues."
On a typical working day, Fabio likes to walk to the daycare in the morning with his daughter before he turns his attention to his projects. His mind is then free to check emails, to plunge into e-meetings or to concentrate on individual tasks. When his daughter comes home from daycare, they end the day together. "Depending on what's going on with my projects, I may sit down at the desk again in the evening, as soon as Mila is asleep. But sometimes that's not necessary."
His "Daddy Day" is sacred to him
Because Fabio works part-time, he has one day a week that is completely free. "The day off is my 'Daddy Day', when my daughter is at home with me. It is important to me that Zühlke makes this possible – and it works without any problems. I'm sure this also has to do with the Swiss mindset – in my experience, part-time models work very well here". The family prefers to spend the weekend together in nature. Fabio and his wife love hiking and have even moved to Switzerland for the beautiful landscape. Whenever they can, they go hiking in the mountains with their daughter. One practical aspect of this is that Fabio can simultaneously pursue his second great passion: photography. "That's the combination that we like best. When you're hiking you can catch lots of great contrasts between the mountain tops and the clear blue lakes. Because Zürich is also so close to the Alps, we have typical holiday landscapes right on our doorstep, without having to drive long distances."
"I let myself be infected by my daughter's good mood"
Because Fabio works more and more in his home office, switching off after work has become a challenge. The boundaries between work and leisure time are often blurred and it is difficult to separate them. "There's only one thing that helps me: letting myself be infected by my daughter's good mood and letting it take my mind off things. Mila doesn't know the stress of work and is fortunate not to know that I have another job besides being her dad. This makes it easier for me to leave the daily routine of work behind and to switch into the family routine." Incidentally, from Mila he has also learned to focus on the here and now, and so to see the world through different eyes.