EYES AND EARS IN THE BERLIN POLITICAL SCENE
Knock, knock, knock, may we come in? Satellite Office today gets to take a look behind the office doors of Dr. Birgit Ortlieb, Government Affairs at Dow Germany. She has her office at Satellite Office, Unter den Linden. One of the most melodious addresses in the country. Dow is an energy-intensive company in the basic chemicals industry that has been operating in Germany for over fifty years. Dow is the second largest purchaser of electricity in the country. Topics that move Germany, topics that are also politically explosive.
Dr. Ortlieb, what does a typical working day look like for you?
There is no such thing! In my field of work, lobbying, every day looks different. Characteristic of my work is meeting people, discussing, penetrating technical issues and being the communicative interface between political Berlin and Dow Germany. I talk to ministers and network on specific policy issues. If there are ever any problems with a new bill, we can activate political allies through my work. Yesterday I had many external appointments, for example I was at the chemical industry association and held talks. It was about a new law there that affects us. Such bills sometimes exceed 300 pages. I then check how the new law burdens or changes our working conditions and try to engage in a conversation with the decision-makers.
Is the Berlin location important to you?
Especially for my field of work, Berlin is an absolute “must”. Here are the state representations from the parties, here are most of the associations. Short distances are very important. We are the only Dow office in Berlin. And so we are virtually “eyes and ears” for our president at Dow Germany.
A new Bundestag will be elected this year, how relevant is that for you?
Now the cards are reshuffling, so this year is very important for us. There will be new people in the offices. Together with the associations, we develop position papers to carry issues further. When new elections are held, we want something specific to come into view for the new incumbents.
Why do you have your offices in the business center?
We are only a small unit, there are three of us. Services such as counter, reception of our visitors and office service we can not provide ourselves. Therefore, this is a good model for us.
What do you like about your office at Satellite Office?
We switched to Satellite Office in September 2016 and are absolutely satisfied. I like my office and especially the quiet. This way I can work in a concentrated manner and still have the advantage of an office infrastructure. It’s very business-like here, you say “hello” to each other in the hallway, you’re not completely alone. In case of problems, e.g. of a technical nature, my assistant can be helped. The meeting rooms are also extremely successful, many of our guests are enthusiastic about the premises. It is very beneficial for the atmosphere of conversation if visitors feel comfortable. And of course I’m also pleased if we Dow can represent Germany well. The environment is a very important component.
What do you think the future holds for flexible workplaces?
Flexible working hours and workplaces are of considerable importance for the compatibility of family and career. I don’t have children myself but I have spent ten years of my life studying and doing a traineeship, I want and expect flexibility in working hours and workplace. That is my claim. Where the work gets done doesn’t matter to my employer either. Thanks to the new world of work and the accompanying digitalization, this is now possible. In the future, I think the flexibilization will go even further. Many companies no longer even have offices for all employees. This saves costs, of course. For me personally it would be nothing, I need a place where I have my documents together and can work. In general, I think that a high degree of flexibility makes people happy and binds them to a company in the long term. When employees experience generosity, it leads to good teamwork. We notice that here in our small team as well. As long as the results are right, Dow leaves us with the greatest possible flexibility.
Finally, a very personal question, when do you feel comfortable in an office?
For me, a reasonable size, quietness and also a nice play of colors, like here at Satellite Office, is important. A certain style has been achieved here. The gray, beige and red tones all look very warm and inviting. Being able to work in a nice office, in good surroundings is important to me. The service here is also good. I find the way the ladies at the counter work very appealing. Overall, this makes the work fun and the results good. I like to come here to my office every morning.
We thank them for the very pleasant, extremely interesting conversation and quietly close the office door. And are already curious what story we will find behind the next door…