WORK IN PANDEMIC TIMES - What We Learned From A Lockdown 


On March 21st, 2020, Freiburg, in south-west Germany, announced a mobility limitation on its citizens due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only essential businesses, like supermarkets, pharmacies and postal services, were allowed to stay open. Other businesses who are not relevant to the system, or in other words non-essential, had to close down until further notice.

I followed three people who run three different kinds of businesses, whether they sell goods or offer services, they have had different experiences during the pandemic and have used different tactics to survive the shut-down. One thing they all have in common, is that they learned to grow differently.


Florian Fromm, programme coordinator at Kommunales Kino Freiburg, says that they used the lock down to work on new projects and renovations in the cinema. One successful project that resulted out of being forced to slow down, is the Hinterhof Kino (Backyard Cinema), which is a cinema-on-demand where Florian and his colleague beam films on building walls where people can watch films from their balconies at home. Hans-Jörg Schwander, who runs Innovation Academy, has had a hard time surviving the lock down. His company, an environmental education organisation that works in the three country triangle of Germany, Switzerland and France. Among the financial hardship that came out of the cancellation of all tours booked for the year, he had to change his business strategies, like offering online tours and student seminars. He says that focusing on more local projects is important for the future of his business. Tatjana Konrad, owner of a textiles shop who, during the pandemic, focused her business on the production of ready made face masks. As a solo business owner, she was working a minimum of twelve hours a day to keep up with the orders. 

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