Introduced: Anne-Marie Jentsch, HR specialist and co-founder of Out Of Office Workations

This is an interview with FIELFALT, a German blogazine and platform that focuses on the inspiration and encouragement of women. FIELFALT appeals to women who want to take a chance, who are looking for their passion or have perhaps already found it and are enthusiastic about something very special. FIELFALT wants to support women to approach and shape their best life self-confidently and to get into action. [“fielfältig” = vielfältig -> multi-faceted, diverse, versatile]

Anne-Marie Jentsch is an HR colleague with so many ideas and energy that you can be directly infected by it. New work approaches are very important for her. She advises companies and has even founded her own company: Out Of Office Workations. In this portrait, she tells us what this is all about, why she sometimes leaves the house without her keys and what is "fielfältig [versatile / diverse]" about her life. Dear Anne-Marie, what are the three items which you would never leave the house without? Smartphone (my mobile office), rainproof backpack (you need it here in Holland), water bottle / thermos flask / reusable cup.I would have liked to have named my keys, too, but unfortunately that would be a lie… What would your best friends say about you if I asked them about you? How would my best friends describe me? I suppose the terms "enterpreneurial", "ambitious" and "a little bit crazy" would be used. Funnily enough - and not surprisingly at all - these also apply to my friends. During our studies of cultural science in Passau, we found each other as a diverse group and still meet regularly until today, even though we are now scattered all over Germany and the world. You started your own business about a year ago. Please tell us how did it come to this and what you do offer? For this I have to go a bit more into detail. I've had the dream of becoming self-employed for a long time. I've always been interested in many diverse things. Now it fits again! It was clear to me relatively early that I would have to create the job, where I could live out all my interests, myself. A combination of "something with people", "something with data" and "something with mobility". After seven very valuable years in strategic HR consulting, last year the time had come for me to try it out. In recent years, I had increasingly specialised in the topic of "the future of work". First, in 2015 I was given the opportunity to work intensively on the question of how new technologies affect our society in a World Economic Forum project. By the way, the project publication is still worth a look, if I may say so modestly. During my subsequent sabbatical, I explored New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Medellin and Rio de Janeiro, among others, to find out what is happening there in terms of innovation and new ways of working. Back in Europe, I moved to my employer's Amsterdam office and began researching and advising on new ways of working. Many organisations in the Netherlands and also in Germany have started great initiatives in recent years. More flexible working models, new technologies that support location-independent working, new team and organisational structures, more agile working methods, more focus on data analytics and and so on. Of course I wanted to try out how life is in this much-sung "gig economy" and what impact I can make with my skills. Out of Office Consulting was born. In addition to your HR work, you also founded Out Of Office Workations. What exactly is behind it and what is your vision? Indeed. I have already mentioned that I have multi-faceted interests. Besides the "future of work" I am also fascinated by the startup world, where new ideas and new technologies are tested "lean" on the market and continuously developed until they meet customer needs. I also wanted to try that out, with an idea that I developed together with a good friend. Marie runs a coworking space in Davos and I now know my way around the Amsterdam coworking scene quite well. The idea was to give corporate teams an insight into this world. During a coworking trip to the Swiss mountains or to hip Amsterdam, the groups can get inspired and work as a team on innovations.Work-life balance and team building also play an important role, because I am convinced that they are the cornerstones of this new work culture. Testing this idea, we found that many European clients, when they already go "out of office", would like to go to sunny places, especially in the winter months. So we started offering workations in Mallorca and Portugal. Since Out of Office Workations also pays great attention to sustainable travel, we have expanded our portfolio of workation houses in recent months, especially here in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. I'm convinced that you can also have an inspiring workation nearby. Organic farms, family-run hotels, Airbnbs - there are so many great places to work from elsewhere, while supporting the local economy and protecting the environment. The vision is very clear: to inspire teams and support them in their development - by working in a unique setting with a unique full service. You are very strongly involved in the topic around new work processes. In your opinion, what are the biggest obstacles to integrate and live new models (among companies and employees)? A very good question. The biggest obstacle, in my opinion, is that so many employees and managers see so many obstacles. Of course, the new methods and tools don't just bring benefits and it takes time for them to be introduced and learned so that they really allow for big leaps. New practices are often abandoned too early. Here it is important that the vision is shown to the employees: What will these new ways of working bring after a few months and how will this help each individual?It is important to make the workforce part of the change process, let them contribute their own ideas, listen to feedback and implement improvements based on it and also give them responsibility for the change process. The innovations should not be dictated from above, but should be supported and driven by everyone, because everyone has realized that without these innovations the company may not exist anymore in only a few years. 
Out of Office Workations Anne-Marie Jentsch
Workation Weekend by Out Of Office Workations & Outbound Kitetravel @ HNW Alkmaar
Self-employment is often equated with "by yourself" and "constantly" (the two parts of the german term). How do you recognize your limits and what do you do to relax and recharge your batteries? Another very good question. Because I have so many interests, I have always planned a lot - sometimes too much. Still wanting to learn this language, travelling that country, learning about this subject and oh - but the other subject is also so interesting. For a few years it works well but you will come to the point where the body says STOP: "It's nice and good that your dear brain is always looking for new input, but I'm also important". After some resistance I gave in. I have put my hobby of kitesurfing more into the centre of my life, I have regularly taken time for yoga and learned about mindfulness and meditation in an 8-week mindfulness course. Since then I try to integrate this into my daily life and take regular breaks. As you say: The flexibility of independence helps on the one hand, but on the other hand I also had to learn that I have to set my own limits and organize my agenda even more stringently than before. But I can reassure those who are afraid of it: You grow with your challenges. Once you've realized where you're stuck, there are many possibilities: apps, networks of freelancers, meetups, accountability buddies, for example. You are living in Amsterdam. What do you miss there that exists in Germany and what would you miss from the Netherlands if you lived in Germany again?I really don't miss much here. My family of course, which I don't visit often enough because of the distance and maybe the mountains. I always enjoy coming to the mountains - but I'm also happy when I get back to the beach in Holland.What would I miss in Germany? Tony Chocolonely! Or is it now also available in every supermarket there? I am a fan of the fair chocolate startup and send all my guests to the Tony Chocolonely headquarters in Amsterdam (which coincidentally are within walking distance from the "Out of Office headquarters", my apartment).The company has managed to introduce a product in a (literally) saturated market that is more than twice as expensive, but proven to be fair in production. And it's "do-good mission" is not sold as a sermon on morality, but captures people emotionally through innovation and wit. In addition, the employees seem to really like working there, so you can learn something about the corporate culture. And of course the chocolate tastes good too! Do you have a personal motto?No. I am still searching. I come across great quotes every now and then, especially in biographies that I like to listen to or read. I am happy about inspiration in the comments - what are your personal mottos? What did you last venture or try out and what private and/or professional challenge would you like to tackle next? My last big adventure was definitely the kite marathon "Hoek tot Helder". Together with 300 other kiters we kitesurfed in one day from the south of the Netherlands (Hoek van Holland) along the coast almost to Den Helder in Noord-Holland. I gave up after 115km of 130 km because the wind was getting stronger and stronger and I didn't feel safe anymore. A small defeat, but I'm still proud of this decision, because it showed me that I don't always have to go beyond my own limits (anymore). And the 850 Euros, which I had collected from almost 30 friends and colleagues in advance, went nevertheless to the Dutch Hartstichting, so they were donated for a good cause.The next challenge from a professional point of view is definitely to further develop Out of Office. I really want to do that. And the good feedback I have received from my customers so far motivates me all the more. Last but not least: What would you like to say to the FIELFALT community? I'm sure many of you will find some similarities to own challenges or topics in some of the points I've raised. No matter where you are on your personal journey, listen to yourself and trust your intuition. For me this has so far worked quite well.  The original interview was published on on 18 November 2019: Pictures: ©Renée van Doorn (@frankbyrenee)