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Work in the time of coronavirus: ‘We’ve continued to publish some good stuff’

How are you doing in these strange and unprecedented times? That is the question we are asking our colleagues in this series. Hilde Pracht-Altorf, for instance, a writer and editor at the Faculty of Science.

‘Our son Luca was born in March. The country went into lockdown two weeks later. My close family was just able to visit, but the weeks that followed were unreal and lonely. I introduced Luca to my colleagues through Microsoft Teams. And when I went back to work, I had to find out how everything worked, whereas my colleagues had already got used to working from home. And what I desperately wanted was a change of scene.

‘Unfortunately, my husband Marcel and I had COVID-19 at the end of September. Luckily, we weren’t desperately ill, but even then we were still out of the running for two weeks. And we obviously couldn’t distance from Luca. He had a high temperature for a day – which I found terrifying – so we assume that he also had it.’

Hilde Pracht
The Pracht-Altorf family

Hilde Pracht

  • Writer and editor at the Faculty of Science
  • Lives with her husband Marcel and son Luca (8 months)
  • Prefers to work in the shared study/junk room, so there’s the odd discussion about who gets to use it!
  • Who/what wouldn’t you be without? ‘My parents! For advice, babysitting and company. We wouldn’t have survived this without them.’
  • What do you miss most? ‘Being able to bounce ideas off my colleagues, just calling out to them.’

‘But this period has meant lots of quality time for us as a family. Marcel was suddenly at home a lot too, so has been there for most of Luca’s precious early days. We sometimes joke about how this is the perfect time to have a baby. We didn’t have to miss any parties because there aren’t any.’

Hilde Pracht
With a little help...

‘We used to eat out loads. Now we sometimes play restaurant at home or try out new recipes. I do sport – athletics – and luckily can also get into the zone in my work. I love losing myself in a new article or reading or learning about new research.

‘We have a Teams coffee/tea meeting every Tuesday morning: a chat about anything really, work-related or not. It seems that we’re actually a very close team, which I’m really glad about. Colleagues even notice during video calls if you’re going through a bit of a dip, and will later ask how you’re doing.

‘It’s great to see how flexible we humans actually are and how well we can adapt to a situation. How our team (C&M) has continued to produce good articles, has been creative with online open days and held an online talk show at the opening of the academic year.’

Text: Corine Hendriks
Photos: Lotte van Uittert

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