BLEISURE Remote Work

Remote in Rome

“Two weeks of remote work in Rome – this is the ­greatest liberty for me as an employee. 20 working days have been a possibility in our company for about a year now.“ Bianca Schmid-Bartosch, Head of Group Compliance at Daimler Truck Financial Services GmbH

Bianca, Rome is not new to you. Have you lived here before?

Yes, for three years as an expat from 2016. Back then I lived alone in a serviced apartment with 40 sqm on the top floor, a small roof ­terrace, my own kitchen and hotel service. It was a great time, where I learnt to love Rome.

Now you‘ve “returned“ for two weeks of remote work in November.

Yes, I had felt a longing for Rome. I travel a lot around the world but I fall in love with this city every time. When people say that Paris is the city of love, I always say: read Roma backwards … The city has a vibe for me that no other has. I find the lights from the colours of the buildings to be quite unique. I love the people and their special dolce vita. It‘s not the same in other cities like Milan, Bologna or Naples. And last but not least you can quickly get from Rome to the sea, the mountains or small lakes.

What exactly is your job?

I am Head of Group Compliance at Daimler Truck Financial Services GmbH (DTFS GmbH) in Leinfelden-Echterdingen near Stuttgart, my official place of work. Here I am responsible for all compliance issues and I am in charge of network management for all of our 16 national companies. Each one has a Local Compliance Officer with whom I am in contact with regularly. We answer questions like: Are we able to go to the customer event and if so, how? Are we approved to do business with company X or Y?
My day usually consists of numerous video calls with colleagues in Germany and abroad who are not in my office location. I have a good mix of home office and office working days in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. This gives me an ideal balance between personal team meetings and my home office.

Since when have DTFS GmbH employees been allowed to work remotely?

About a year ago we stipulated in our travel policy that we are allowed to work remotely for up to 20 working days per calendar year within Europe (with a few country exceptions). If we wish to do so we discuss the dates, the destination and how everyone will be working from there with our line manager. We then proceed to enter this data into a tool and then formalities such as the A1 certificate are issued.

You have spent ten of your 20 working days in Rome in the last year. Which rules stated by your ­employer did you have to follow on site?

The policy clearly states that I am not allowed to stay in our national com­pany in Rome for tax reasons, let alone work from there. I was also not allowed to attend meetings in the Italian country organisation. My stay in Rome was purely for private ­pleasure.
I booked an apartment for the time there and paid for every­thing myself.

What was your working day like?

As in my home office in Germany I had virtual meetings throughout the day in my apartment and was completely booked. I was very easily able to move my typical work day, so to speak. And during my lunch break I cooked myself meals with fresh Italian ingredients.
I particularly enjoyed Rome in the evenings and met up with friends from the past for an aperitif. For me, La Matricia­nella, Rosso Eat Drink Stay and Chalet del Lago in Anquillara ­Sabazia were particularly great places to do so.

You‘ve already planned remote work in Rome with your partner for the summer of 2024. What will you be doing differently there?

I won‘t spend all my days here working remotely, but will combine some of my days before and after with holidays and plan longer weekends. However I won‘t be changing anything in terms of work organisation and everyday life. We might go out for lunch to the little Italian restaurant down the street sometimes. Otherwise it will be normal home office days again in Rome.
I see it as an advantage that I already know Rome and decide exactly where I can go in my free time and look forward to it. This makes it easier for me to just work when I‘m in my apartment on my office days. However everyone has to decide for themselves what suits them the best.

Did you pay attention to any specific aspects while choosing an apartment for this summer?

Of course the internet has to work very well. However I had no problem with that at all in the apartment in November. In future I will always try to have a balcony or terrace so that I can work from there or have an aperitif in the evening. It‘s important to me that my apartment is quiet so that I can work in peace and sleep at night. At the same time it should also be located centrally so that I can quickly walk every­where from there.

How do your colleagues react? To what extent do you talk about your remote working stays?

Since last year only a few colleagues have taken advantage of the opportunity to work remotely. We talk about the great experiences we have had and acceptance is increasing noticeably. Because well yes, apart from travelling, it costs a lot of money to book an apartment and I can‘t deduct anything from my tax bill. However I think for an employee, it‘s a big liberty and it‘s great that this is now also possible for employees to a regulated extent. In my opinion, the opportunity to work remotely is great. And I am convinced that it is also an important aspect for younger people who want to join a company, in order to be perceived as an attractive employer.

Thank you very much for the interview, Bianca, and I wish you more great remote working trips!

Sylvie Konzack …

… was able to understand what Bianca means by falling in love with her Rome again and again. And that she doesn‘t mind to just work in her apartment all day. She manages to change her perspective and in just a few minutes she‘s in the centre of Rome amongst Romans, if she wants to be.


Fotos: © Bianca Schmid-Bartosch