Unfortunately, the swift transition to home offices has meant that many of us have been working from our dining room tables or the couch for almost a year, with the added interruptions and distractions that family members and domestic demands bring. Others, however, may have already built an office space at home and are thus at least able to create a geographical divide between office and living spaces. Nevertheless, a separate office space alone does not necessarily mean that an ergonomic workplace has been set up. The same applies to temporary workstations in the living space.
What does science and law say about this?
A home working space should be just as well set up as your office working area. This is backed up by the German Occupational Health and Safety Act. In addition to possible tax advantages, at least in Germany, an ergonomic workplace also has positive effects in later life. Currently, an alarming 20-25% of sick leave taken by employers is due to musculoskeletal disorders caused by a less than ideal workspace. Here are a few tips and tricks to make for a more efficient and functioning home working environment. If possible, a height-adjustable table and an ergonomic desk chair should be available. In addition, make sure there is enough fresh air and daylight in the room. If there is no daylight available, or the room is too dark, make sure there is sufficient lighting both overhead and on your desk. In addition, you should get enough exercise in the home office. Regularly getting up and stretching your legs or even taking a short walk during your lunch break can work wonders.
Ergonomic working at NT-ware!
We at NT-ware pay a lot of attention to the health of our employees and will continue to look after the wellbeing of our employees in the home office even after the pandemic. In order to promote ergonomic working we can provide additional IT equipment free of charge e.g. height adjustable monitors. Individual IT equipment can also be purchased from a personal IT budget. You can also take advantage of an electric, height-adjustable desk whether working from home or in the office. For those who still have individual problems such as sheath inflammation, NT-ware can also provide supporting gel cushions and/ or an ergonomic mouse and keyboard. So, apply now to an employer who promotes your health!
Médecins sans frontières (MSF)/Ärzte ohne Grenzen (cross-border medical help): In addition to numerous other activities, MSF is involved in the fight against the coronavirus. Helping people in more than 70 countries significantly affected by the pandemic, they work in health facilities and treatment centers and run hospitals for Covid 19 patients.
Kinderschutzbund Osnabrück (agency for the protection of children): This association is committed to children's interests and rights by providing child protection systems in the city and district of Osnabrück. In addition to counseling and support services, they also offer outpatient therapies.
NDR - Hand-in-Hand für Norddeutschland (hand in hand charity campaign): The German broadcasting company's charity campaign is all about helping disadvantaged people in particular need due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Together they developed their vision for a smart and relaxing shopping experience in the city center. PACKOSEL was born, a system for conveniently delivering purchased goods to the parking lot or train station, so shoppers don’t have to carry bags and boxes around and reducing traffic density in the city. This year the hackathon had to be conducted online so various communication channels were used to discuss, collaborate, coordinate then present the idea. The closing event was streamed live, showing video submissions from all teams. The concept around PACKOSEL won Carsten’s team first place. Within the next couple of weeks, we will see the PACKOSEL team realize their vision for Osnabrück’s digital future. If you are interested in further information and videos of the final event klick on www.osnahack.de!
DRK employees and volunteers support the authorities by providing mobile medical practices and fever check points across Germany. The relief efforts of the DRK also focus on the care and support of the elderly and other vulnerable persons during the crisis. NT-ware has donated 5000 euros to support the DRK’s important voluntary work and relief action. If you also want to help: www.drk.de/spenden/corona-nothilfsfonds/
OzHarvest is Australia's leading food saving organization; high-quality surplus food is collected from commercial outlets and delivered directly to more than 1300 charities that support people in need across the country. OzHarvest is hosting a CEO CookOff, where business leaders and some of Australia's best chefs will cook and serve meals to over 1,300 vulnerable Australians who have been affected by recent fires, droughts and floods. This unique event provides an opportunity to see the direct impact of the funds raised, as companies can interact with their guests, serve delicious food and provide some hope and dignity. Our Canon colleague Ben Luke is part of the cooking crew for the first time this year. NT-ware has donated $2.510 to OzHarvest to support this great fundraising project. Ben Luke has sent a message of thanks for our support by stating that ”every donation will make a real difference to those in need”. Check out OzHarvest’s website to find out more.
The fourth LAN-party opened the doors to NT-ware employees and friends. Teams were built in mixed mode, based on participants’ skill level, to open up the tournament to any player and to encourage new players. Entertaining and challenging matches provided excellent experiences for all players and the worthy winners are to be congratulated. The next event is already being planned and will take place on October 24th. The next edition, NTWL #5, will be a 'special’ one for strategy games only. Hope to see you there!
Today it is a popular tourist destination with its recreational facilities and culture. We stopped en route in Lübeck on the Friday to enjoy a guided tour through the historic old town and had a delicious 3 course meal at the House of the Seamen´s Guildhall with local delicacies such as tartare of herring fillet and marzipan parfait. Afterwards we went to the 30 km northern city Neustadt, were we reached our final destination and checked into our hotel and enjoyed our free time. The first evening was rounded off with dinner at the hotel accompanied by beautiful live music. Saturday was the big day. After breakfast, various activities such as speed boating, yoga and upcycling classes were organized. Employees were able to choose from a range of options from the very active to the more relaxing by enjoying the hotel’s facilities including the sauna, swimming pool and massages; some opted for a mix of both. The highlight of the trip began at 6pm when everyone went to the fitting room to find some accessories for the James Bond casino night. Everyone wore a suit or an elegant gown and spent the evening in glamorous surroundings with lots of good food, various casino games and a band playing such good music the dance floor was never empty. Following this fun packed weekend we are already curious about where the trip will be in 2021.
Every December we donate funds to local charities instead of giving presents to our partners. In 2019, we selected two charities dedicated to working with, protecting and supporting children. Kindernothilfe focuses on protection, provision and participation and supports more than 2.1 million children in Africa, Asia and Latin America by providing humanitarian aid through self-help groups, food and working to conserve resources. Wunderbunt e.v. is an association that offers support and advice to parents of children with rare diseases, developmental delays or those who await a confirmed diagnosis of a disability. Wunderbunt e.V. provides advice and help to families and allows those in need to exchange experiences, ask questions and raise concerns. We at NT-ware feel very fortunate to be able to support these organizations as they provide so much for children and their families.
The audience comprised students on Professor Rainer Roosmann’s 'Computer Science – Distributed and Mobile Applications' Master program course. The focus was on our Microsoft Azure-based software for uniFLOW Online, elasticity and horizontal scaling, distributed data stores and messaging. Carsten also presented the 'Ports & Adapters' architectural pattern which was recently introduced into the back end of uniFLOW Online. This was Carsten’s second presentation at the university; he talked to students in April about Security Engineering, raising awareness in particular about security considerations during application development, and interactively presenting best practices in secure coding. With their in-depth knowledge and high level of skills, NT-ware’s employees are able to maintain a close collaboration with universities. Added to that, we want to share our knowledge with students and make them aware of NT-ware as a modern development company within the region.
This certification has become more significant for businesses as the work-life balance of family and career is a primary issue today and in the future. Businesses are under pressure to offer benefits such as flexible working hours, on-site day care center and home working options. After companies had put themselves forward for the award, the judges selected some nominees for the next step - a visit by judges to assess each organization and its family friendly benefits. Judges visited NT- ware in Bad Iburg during the summer of 2019, toured the offices and our HR department answered a range of questions. In October 2019, we were delighted to hear that NT-ware was declared to be the most family-friendly employer in the region. In late October the award was given to us at an official awards ceremony. We are very proud of the award as it establishes the company as one of the strongest businesses in the Osnabrück region and as a pioneering industry for employees.
Companies represent their organization in short 6-minute pitches. Developers then have the opportunity to gain a more in-depth knowledge about a company through 1-on-1 talks with company representatives. These events take place in large and mid-sized German and Austrian cities several times a year. It is obvious to NT-ware that this event is a good way to recruit new talents with innovative ideas. In 2019 we therefore attended three Pitch Club events in Dortmund and Bielefeld where our project director, Peter, talked about general facts and benefits of NT-ware with a focus on what we have achieved in 20 years. As prospective candidates are especially interested in companies who have a vision and are able to point out why they need new employees the NT-ware vision was an integral part of the presentation. Using a global map, Peter showed where uniFLOW products are sold, what our market penetration strategy is and what NT-ware aims to achieve within the next few years. Afterwards Michael, our development manager , focused on working environments in the software and quality assurance departments, highlighting the benefits of working in small teams, and presented the used tool chains. During these events we met several software developers with a great vision matching ours at NT-ware and we are looking forward to participating in more Pitch Club Events in the upcoming year.
The route is 5 - 6 km track and participants can sign up either a runner or a Nordic walker. The route in Dortmund is a particularly special experience as it runs through Germany's largest soccer stadium, Westphalia Park. On May 28th, 2019 we decided to join in on the fun. There were 12,500 runners participating including 27 NT-ware employees – our Team Active - taking part as runners, walkers or visitors. Severe weather conditions with heavy thunderstorms meant the 6.45 pm start time was delayed but, once they set off, our employees ran through the home of the soccer club Borussia Dortmund and crossed the finish line happy and healthy. Team Active then stayed on to enjoy the food, drinks and entertainment program provided. Another challenge is being planned and we are keen to compete again as a NT-ware team.