News from the Waldoffice

Sophie + Daniel Blockus: News from the Forest Office

When my husband and I started working for PLANWORX, we had already had a dream for many years: moving out of the city, into the forest. Or rather to the old farmhouse in the Bavarian Forest, which has been in the hands of his family since the 1970s, and has given us many nice weekends and vacations.

Daniel and I work the way we always have: same agency, same team, same projects. We simply work best as a team. And suddenly two decisive factors came together that brought us rapidly closer to our dream: surprisingly good LTE reception in the middle of the “wilderness” – our house is not even connected to the municipal water supply, but internet is no problem – AND an employer who is so not at all opposed to the concept of flexible, location-independent working. Quite the opposite: when our two bosses heard about our plans, they were thrilled and didn’t doubt at all that it would work, because they had already had the best experiences with other employees working from home. So we had full backing and launched into the heavy-use home office adventure with our three daughters.

That was almost two years ago now. And we are more convinced than ever. All the questions we asked beforehand were answered. Is it still possible to work closely together in project teams with an 80-90% home office share? Yes. You can, although you see each other mainly through video calls. And, lead a team from your forest base while maintaining a close connection? Yes. Is there no total social depletion if you’re only super rarely in the office? Well – once you’re there, of course, you have to catch up on some of the gossip – but nope, you don’t become impoverished. On the contrary, you really look forward to your colleagues and the updates at the coffee machine.

And then the pandemic came at the beginning of the year and just called everything into question. Even though the virus has completely shaken up some aspects of our lives, and still does, we have been quite unconsciously well prepared, at least in terms of how we work. Digital, flexible, self-reliant, goal-oriented, agile, future-oriented. We have seamlessly transitioned to the digital office with our colleagues and have already been able to inspire many customers to take bolder steps towards digitization, thanks to our agile mindset and the unexpected circumstances. Okay, nobody could have guessed the homeschooling thing – how to manage three kids and two jobs at the same time is something we’re still working on ­čśë.

What’s next in our new life with the virus? We are like everyone else – we don’t know. What we do know is that we will stay in the forest and continue to work on the future from here. And in the garden. Because planting a garden means believing in tomorrow.

This way of working gives courage and makes you want more. After this works so well, we as an agency should also question and break up other established structures of the working world! In any case, we’re incredibly excited to see which groundbreaking innovation in New Work we’ll get to try out next ­čÖé

Let’s have a look at how we live in the forest:

  • 1.7 km from the nearest road, connected by a rodeo forest trail. In winter, when there is snow, there is no direct access to the house, so you have to walk through deep snow to the school bus.
  • Water from our own source.
  • 245 sqm developed living space and about 100 sqm barn yet to renovate.
  • 5,000 m┬▓ of green meadows surrounded by a mixed forest. Piece by tiny piece the meadows are transformed according to permaculture principles into vegetable beds, orchards, bee meadows and natural play areas.
  • 1 trout pond, 4 rabbits, a pacifist cat who doesn’t want to catch mice, a very large Irish wolf bitch and – since spring 2020 – fiiiiiinally chickens!
  • Heating is done exclusively by five wood stoves (one of them is the only stove and oven for cooking).
  • 100 mBit/s LTE.