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In the autumn of 2020, between two lockdowns, we moved to our new premises in Gland, taking offices in the IUCN Conservation Centre. These aren’t any old offices and as the last six months show, they have been good for the body and soul of the Vivent team.

 

The first LEED Platinum building in Europe

The building we are in is owned by the IUCN – The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is also home to WWF International. As soon as you walk in it has a grounded and peaceful atmosphere (not least because it is still very empty!). It was designed to be the greenest building possible when it was opened in 2010 and was the first LEED Platinum building in Europe. The building has highly efficient water and energy systems. Rain is collected from the roof and used for the toilets and to water the garden. It is entirely heated from renewable sources and the building heats and cools by storing energy in its concrete walls. The hot water is produced by collecting the heat from the refrigerators. The blinds adjust to avoid overheating which can make you jump as they suddenly whirr and change angle in the afternoon!

 

We work on a daily basis toward our mission to support farmers and growers on their road to agricultural sustainability, so we feel we are in the right place here, surrounded by like-minded people with infrastructure that matches our values as well as great views of the wild gardens and Lake Geneva.

 

The pandemic, working from home, and staff well-being

Working from home is still highly recommended in Switzerland, and our staff have the choice to come into the office or stay home. Each one chooses the days to come in and there is no doubt that meeting in real life has been really important for everyone’s well-being. A quick meeting in person resolves issues that might otherwise take several emails or endless re-arrangements of calls. We’ve rediscovered how important it is to exchange personal as well as professional news over a coffee or lunch, especially as we are a new team that was built up during the pandemic.

Whatever the new normal will look like, we know that time spent in the office in Gland grounds us, and reminds us of our mission.

 

Photo credit – Elise Wallbridge

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