I try to look ahead with optimism
How are you spending your private time during the pandemic?
The pandemic has turned our lives upside down. I think and pray that people are safe and that this sudden catastrophe, that has afflicted the entire world, would be stopped as soon as possible. I follow the news, I listen to the experiences from other countries and somehow try to look ahead with optimism. Even before the pandemic, my day was too short to do everything I wanted to. I still need more time despite working for home for the past ten days. The small amount of “private time”, as you call it, is reserved for what I have just mentioned, plus for reflecting on past practices and perhaps certain changes we can make to our daily routine after the state of emergency is cancelled. I try to help everyone around me as much as I can with words and actions. I also try to help my son with his use of various platforms for distance learning. I manage to look at a webinar or two and deal with some of the challenges on social media.
How did you organize your business activities?
While anticipating where all of this could lead, Tamara and I made a decision on 13th March for all of the Chapter 4 staff to work from home. Our work continued “normally”, of course, with the view of this new situation and with a changed dynamic, because certain projects had to be postponed. Our team is available to our clients literally 24/7 because this is a time when our support, advice and analysis are of the utmost importance and when accurate, transparent and timely communication is crucial for business. Every day, we have many meetings on different online platforms with both client and team meetings with co-workers and partners via telephone, Viber, e-mail… Basically, all available technologies and forms of communication are active these days. We try to stick to the plans we devised earlier, and where that is not possible, we quickly adapt to the given circumstances and conditions by making quick decisions. We strive to fulfil our obligations to our employees, partners, associates and the state regularly.
What will you do first after the state of emergency is cancelled?
I am going to visit my mum, who doesn’t live in Belgrade, since I haven’t seen her for several months. Now, due to the curfew and her health, I am not able to see her, although we speak to each other several times a day. After that, I can’t wait for everyone to come back to the office and hold a real team meeting, as we, in Chapter 4, usually do on Fridays when we all have lunch together. Finally, I cannot wait to continue exploring new destinations around the world with David and Boris that we had planned. Until then, #stayhealthy and #stayhome. Good luck and let’s all say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has to work so that our lives continue as normal.
The answers are initially written for Diplomacy & Commerce by Milena Avramovic Bjelica