What does a typical day in the life of volunteer look like at Deutsche Telekom? There’s no such thing, say Elisabeth Giesemann and Jim Würz, who are currently volunteering with Corporate Communications in Berlin and Bonn. They offer a peek into life in the department.
First things first: check e-mails. At Corporate Communications, the day officially gets under way at 9:15 a.m. with the morning meeting. Like most of the department, Jim, who has been volunteering with Deutsche Telekom since the start of the year, works in Bonn. Elisabeth, who started in April, is based in Berlin. The morning meeting starts with a look at the day's press coverage followed by planning for the day. It’s important that everyone is clear on the big questions, like which topic is being communicating today, what will be published today, and if there any special events coming up.
“After the morning meeting I have a conference call where we take a closer look at the local press,” says Elisabeth. “On the map Germany is divided into four regions. There’s a small team of us who talk about the progress of the network build-out and the latest developments regarding faults.”
After the official starting gun is fired, every day is different from the previous one. Corporate Communications covers a broad spectrum of topics, which keeps things interesting and exciting. Both of the volunteers agree with this wholeheartedly. Work in the department is split into projects. Every topic, from the network build-out to cyber-security, is bundled in a separate project. “The main part of our day is taken up with working on these projects,” says Jim. He is part of the editorial team for Tim’s Base, the internal blog of Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Höttges. “We help the CEO communicate with his employees. Regular blog posts and status updates give an insight into his business trips and on-site visits, and let people know what's going on in his world.”
Exchanges are certainly lively in Deutsche Telekom's Corporate Communications department. Constructive chats at lunchtime – an equally important part of the volunteers’ day – are virtually guaranteed. “As volunteers, we also have dedicated points of contact. Buddies and mentors give us feedback and help us with all kinds of situations we might come up against during our working day,” says Jim. The two volunteers relish the opportunity to work alongside colleagues from such diverse professional backgrounds and enjoy hearing their anecdotes both from within and outside of Deutsche Telekom. Some of the stories would make a great film script.
Over in Berlin, the department has other topics on its agenda. Like a press event on the mobile network build-out in Kleeßen Görne, north-west of Berlin, which Elisabeth went along to. “We also went to IFA in Berlin together. A lot of minute planning goes into these shows. Part of our job is to report on the events themselves on our social intranet, on social media and in blog posts.”
A volunteer placement with Deutsche Telekom also includes the opportunity to spend several weeks as an intern with a different Group department. “Right now I’m getting ready to spend a month on placement in Brussels,” says Jim. “I’ll be supporting the Political and Regulatory Affairs department.” The junior staff members are jointly working on a communication concept for the Brussels office’s Twitter account. Which means one thing above all: research, research, research.
The volunteers’ day ends as it started. At the afternoon meeting the team takes stock of the day: What went well? What do we need to work on in the future? “Things start to calm down after the 4:00 p.m. meeting. We have some quiet time to finish off our last jobs of the day,” says Elisabeth. “Exactly. And then it’s about time to head home for the evening,” adds Jim.