After two weeks in Belém, Sebastian arrived back at Hamburg airport on Monday night. Normally, his business trips are not really worth mentioning, as he does them all the time. But this one was a very special one. Because this time the trip was to Belém, the city in Brazil where Sebastian grew up and lived until 1999, when he moved to Germany with his parents. Now he is meeting there our longtime colleague Hans-Guido as well as our new developer Carlos and Wellington.
Hello, Sebastian. you’ve just had a pretty special business trip. The trip didn’t go just anyplace, but to your hometown in Brazil. What was it like to fly back there, this time for business and not just pleasure?
Honestly, it didn’t make any difference. I went to school there and also gained my first work experience there. Belem is not known for changing much. It was like time travel for me, 23 years back. Much was exactly the same as it was then. That was precisely one of our reasons for starting with a new team there. So I already know some things about the working processes there. Since Remote Work is also something new for us to some extent, we wanted to start in a familiar environment to avoid as many uncertainties as possible.
What was the primary goal of the trip?
The goal of the trip was to get to know our team in Brazil better and on a personal level, and to create an infrastructure that would give our remote teams the best working environment. But topics such as branch establishment and incentives were also very important items on my agenda.
You’ve met a few new coworkers in the process that you’ve only known remotely. What was the most exciting thing about meeting them live?
Remote work has the disadvantage that many of the conversations become very matter-of-fact. Once everything has been discussed, the conversation often ends. This was different at the in-person meeting. There we could get to know each other much better.
Are regular trips to Belém and other places in Brazil (São Paulo, Tucuruí, Macapá) part of the remote way of working for you in the future?
It will certainly always be necessary to work there in the future. But that doesn’t mean it always has to be me. In the future, we plan that parts of the team will work together in different places (also in Germany or in other places in Brazil, for example).
What advice would you give to someone going on a business trip to Brazil?
Have and make good contacts in advance, choose a centrally located hotel, pack light clothes and have plenty of room in your stomach. After all, there will be no shortage of food there. It is customary to take several breaks, also called “merenda” or “lanche”. Sometimes with Pão de Queijo, sometimes with Tapioquinhas, sometimes with cake to the beloved café. And it’s all very delicious. It is also not unusual to meet again for dinner in the evening.
Another important thing is that getting to know each other in person should never be neglected. An appointment that is purely businesslike is unusual, because in Brazilian culture, people are the most important thing.
Thank you, Sebastian, for your report!