The last month of Q11 was a highlight for me. I got the opportunity to do an internship at Siemens AG Austria in Vienna working for the Corporate Unit of Communications. From July 2nd until July 27th I supported the department of Internal Communications. On my first day I got given a Laptop, an employee card and a desk was assigned to me. This made it really easy for me to integrate into the processes and the daily office routine. Generally I had to work for 38.5 hours per week and had a lunch break of 30 minutes every day.
The main topic I was confronted with was the work-life-balance. Siemens Austria has established special programmes in order to treat their employees as actual human resources. Therefore they offer several courses and seminars giving their staff the opportunity to learn about healthy living as well as doing sports or enjoying relaxation treatments. Setting up a programme like this is a good start for a big, global company like Siemens but adapting it to the needs of its users is essential too. For this reason an anonymous survey was sent out asking the employees to rate the different offers. To assure that everybody had access to the survey even the workers in the factory building who are not able to go on the internal internet I distributed it on the whole site together with another intern. On top of that we tried to reach out to as many employees as possible by sending out emails letting them know that they survey existed and putting up posters to further promote it. After around two weeks we collected all the printed versions again and then analysed it together with the log file we got from the online survey. In the end we created a presentation summing up the trends we spotted in the answers and the wishes the participants mentioned. The summary can now be used to adapt the programme and therefore improve it.
Apart from this project I gained insight into journalistic working and magazine editing. A working group in my office was responsible for creating an innovation and environment magazine called hi!tech informing about projects Siemens is involved in. Since hi!tech is not only available in Austria but also in the other 19 countries of the Central Eastern Europe cluster it has to be translated into some other languages including English. My job was to do the proof reading including going through the first version of the English articles which just came back from the translators and find spelling mistakes or sentences where the meaning changed or complicated structures were used. On top of that a few texts had to be shortened in order to meet the different magazine formats of each country belonging to the cluster. This allowed me to understand how much has to be done before you can send the final version to the printing house and people in different counties can read the same stories.
During the first week I also got the opportunity to take part in a meeting about the Siemens City and its special features. As Vienna is the headquarter of Siemens AG Austria and also one of the 5 representative offices of the cluster Central Eastern Europe (CEE) it has an important function for the company. Therefore the modern Siemens City was built and since 2010 it serves as a place for communication and meetings, an office for around 3000 people and a manufacturing site. As one of Siemens’s focuses is on sustainability and renewable energies the building uses many intelligent systems in order to keep the impact on the environment as low as possible. This includes that the transportation on site is done using electro cars or segways and intelligent elevators move the employees of the main tower up and down the 12 floors quickly and efficiently. Geothermal heat combined with thermo active ceilings and automated window blinds are used for the temperature regulation. For the restaurants and bistros which need warm water solar panels are installed on the roof providing the kitchens with the required heat. All these systems and automated processes increase the sustainability of the building complex and additionally allow CO2 savings up to 1.000 tons per year.
But not only the building itself has great features. The offices and the other facilities create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for the employees and guests. A big restaurant and 2 bistros care for the creatures comfort. The restaurant is split into three “islands” serving Mediterranean, biological and traditional Austrian food. As a result you may chose between 9 freshly made dishes everyday and you can add delicious salads and desserts too. I usually had lunch together with a group of colleagues and it was great that everybody could eat something they liked but we could still all sit together and enjoy the meal. When it was sunny we even sat outside by the lake which gave us a welcome break from working inside. In the afternoons we often went down to the bistros to grab an ice cream or sit down for a coffee. On top of that sofas and benches are spread across the campus making it easy to meet up with people and socialise with them. The office rooms are big and open spaced and since the tower is mainly made out of glass many windows let the sunshine in and therefore create a bright place to work. Every employee has an own desk, laptop and screen but printers are shared using the follow-me printing system. This means that you press print on your laptop but the document can be collected at any printer in the house after you have indentified yourself with your card. In the middle of the office we had a “bubble” (glass room) where you could go in to have calls or small group meetings without distracting the rest of the team. Another location for meeting up with guests or colleagues or to have events is the “skygarden”. It is three floors high and the whole front is made out of glass making it possible for you to enjoy the view of Vienna. Employees come here to relax on the sofas and seats or they take their laptop with them and work there for a while which is possible since the whole house is equipped with Wi-Fi. The big screens are used for viewing presentations or the latest headlines and news are shown on them.
For the whole time of the internship I could stay at a friend’s flat where I had my own room and bathroom. I enjoyed living there and got along very well with Sibylle who also works at Siemens. In the mornings it only took me a few minutes to get to the underground station and after around 30 min on the train I reached Siemens. Sometimes I even got a lift in the car which was comfortable and nice since we passed many beautiful and interesting buildings on the way to work including the power station Hundertwasser built. I really liked the location of the flat since it was close to the Mariahilferstraße with many shops, the Naschmarkt with fresh food and only two underground stations away from the first district. With the travel guide my godmother had given me before I left I started doing some sightseeing in the centre of the city and I don’t think you can say that you have done Vienna without stopping by at the Hotel Sacher for a delicious cake and a coffee. We were lucky about the weather in July because it was sunny and warm most of the time with only a few days of rain. The first week was unbearably hot though with temperatures up to 37°C. Our tactic in order to cool down the flat was to open all the windows as soon as it got dark outside and turn on the fan we had. It probably didn’t help much but it had a positive psychological effect. After work I used my time to do things around the city. One afternoon I went to the Prater with another intern and we went on some rollercoaster and other fairground rides. Within walking distance from where I lived I discovered an English cinema which showed the latest movies. During the four weeks I went there three times to see IceAge 4, The Way and the new Batman. Additionally I visited a photography exhibition called Stadtquartette of Heinz Cibulka in the gallery Westlicht. The photos were really interesting and I enjoyed walking through the showroom. Since the summer sale was on at this time of the year I had to make use of it too and therefore I went shopping. Apart from the normal shops we get in here too Vienna also has a Hollister where I went in to see the hot guys and get greeted with the obligatory phrase “Welcome to the peer”. A different shopping experience was the flea market that takes place next to the Naschmarkt on Saturdays. Many antiques are sold there and for me the old, golden frames where the objects of desire. So I bought two of them in different sizes which are now on my wall at home framing my own black and white pictures. After a few days of working at the office I also got closer to some of the other interns and we meet up several times. They introduced me to their friends and it was really nice to hang out with some locals.
Overall I can say that I enjoyed my time at Siemens very much and I am hoping to come back soon to further explore the city and see the friends I made again.