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Yes. I had been working in Germany for a long time – in Aachen. I also did my doctorate there. I was extremely interested in science and had high expectations for my work, so I looked all over Germany for companies that appreciate an academic background and science-orientation in their staff.
That's how I came across the position at Wölfel. There was a very interesting job posting where it explicitly stated that a PhD was valued. Yes, I applied for it right away. It was a good transition for me, and a good choice.
This sense of family, I think, actually begins with our leadership. You never get the impression that someone ranks higher than someone else. And that's true from a top-down perspective as well as within the team. The wellbeing of others is taken into consideration. When tasks are assigned, the main consideration is not the role, there's always thought given to how the person is doing at the moment. So, in that sense, it does feel like a family.
I find it very pleasant; very people-oriented, I would say. Focus is on the individual first and then on the work. You simply feel comfortable here.
Everything revolves around family and I believe a lot of that spirit originates from the founding family. You are frequently asked how things fit into your family plans.
If a business trip needs to be planned, Wölfel wants to know if it aligns with your family, your children, your spouse, etc. In this sense, not just at the start of the pandemic but also afterward, the concept of freedom regarding working from home was expanded on a basis of trust. Wölfel is a company where it's taken for granted that every employee has, can have, or will have a family. For me, it is a luxury to be able to have breakfast and also dinner with my kids every day. We take it as a given, but you don’t have that in every company.
Well, in terms of work hours, the core worktime is from 9 to 3, which is already quite flexible. You can start as early as you want or go home later. We focus more on performance. If someone needs to take half a day off for an appointment, it's simply marked in the calendar for everyone to know. I think each of us feels a great deal of freedom to manage our time as efficiently as possible. Beyond that, we have our summer fest. Once a year there's a big event where the company celebrates, but ultimately, it's about celebrating the families of the employees.
Also, we get company bikes and we have a company cafeteria with its own staff which means we can influence the menus, for example, with regard to sustainability and the environment. The company subsidizes each meal by three euros so you get very good food for a very reasonable price.
Then we have table tennis, and the surroundings are great for jogging. There's even a woodworking space some employees requested. You can actually do high-level carpentry there if you want. There are more things than one might know (laughs).
There are WhatsApp groups and circles around diverse activities. I think we all have something in common. Our most popular meetings are the visits to wine fest. We all go together; everyone finds the time.
I lived in Würzburg for four years, in a rental. Then we had kids. At some point we wanted to have a bigger house so we moved to the surrounding area, to Franconia. That's how I know both sides. Würzburg is a wonderful city with a healthy and cheerful urban life, the river, and great weather. The food is fantastic; you find cuisines from all over the world. Because Würzburg is a university town, you feel there's a lot of life.
Now I live in the countryside, I like that distances are short, you can get everywhere in no time. There's also a great food and wine culture in this region. The River Main brings life to everything; we have many water sports opportunities – canoeing, boating, paddling – and there is great hiking here. I come from Spain, a beautiful country, and in Germany this is the closest I've found to my home country both in terms of the weather and the opportunities; it's a very good place to live.
No (laughs). We're more internationally oriented. Franconian isn't so common in our everyday life. We tend to use English more because we have many colleagues from abroad, especially given that we work in a technological field. So, I've left Franconian for another time.