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«We are like gear wheels in a machine that work together»

Andrea Schaller and Macarena Concha work for Swiss Prime Site Solutions. As Communications Manager and Head of Construction respectively, they carry a lot of responsibility and are passionate in pursuing their goals. In the following interview, they talk about how they tackle their work in a lockdown and flourish within their team, and how they balance their professional and private lives.

Where are you working from right now?

Andrea Schaller: We’re talking over Teams, but I’m actually in the office.

Macarena Concha: I’m working from home, but I had to do the digital equivalent of running to get to the meeting ...

Why are you working from the office and why from home? And why were you in such a hurry?

AS: There are certain parts of my job that are hard to do from home. I often need direct, personal contact with colleagues, which is why I regularly work on site at Prime Tower.

MC: I spend around half my time at home and half in the office. I was just in a lawyer’s meeting – we had to give a project the final legal once-over.

«There’s a lot of variety in what I do. Every day is different and raises new problems that need solving.»
Andrea Schaller

Describe your job in a few sentences.

MC: Essentially, I spend a lot of time on construction sites. I drive our many real estate projects forward and am responsible for keeping them on schedule. My aim as a developer is to bring excellent products to market that will satisfy our customers.

AS: I’m also working with a lot of things that are «under construction» at the moment, but in a more figurative sense [laughs]. I’m responsible for communications at Swiss Prime Site Solutions and the Swiss Prime Investment Foundation. My job covers traditional and digital communications, branding and storytelling.

What do you like best about your job?

AS: There’s a lot of variety in what I do. Every day is different and raises new problems that need solving. There’s very little in the way of «daily business», and I take care of it very much as I go. I can get stuck in and make a difference every day.

MC: It’s the same for me when it comes to variety. I absolutely love how flexible my job is. What’s more, at Swiss Prime Site, people listen to you and your opinion matters. I really appreciate that.

«I hear the song «Try» by Pink in my head. In many ways, it’s a song about holding onto your dreams and desires.»
Macarena Concha

Why have you chosen to do the job you do rather than anything else?

AS: I’m an open, communicative person. I always try and see the bigger picture and understand things from a wider perspective. And that’s exactly what I do in my job.

MC: I love architecture. I need freedom and the opportunity to contribute my ideas and be creative. The same as Andrea, I like to see the wider context and help shape it. That’s why I’m at Swiss Prime Site.

You both have children. How have you handled things in terms of your home life?

AS: It was – and in some ways still is – a very unusual situation. I’m a single mother and so it took a bit of manoeuvring to make sure both I and my school-age daughter could continue doing what we needed to do. Fortunately I have family and friends who helped as much as they could. To be honest, I was delighted when we were able to return to work more or less as normal last summer, and I was able to see my colleagues on a more regular basis. Sometimes I feel like there need to be four of me just to be able to get everything done and give everyone around me what they need.

MC: I have to say the same as Andrea. It was a difficult time. My husband and I had to organise our lives and our children around our work. We don’t have any family nearby who can help us with the kids, which makes things harder. We have encountered a few issues, especially when they get sick. The flexibility of my job really helps, though. I’ve sometimes spent the afternoon looking after the children and then done my work later in the evening.

What’s the best thing and the worst thing about your day-to-day work?

MC: What I like most about my job is that I almost always get to start with a blank canvas. This flexibility is a huge source of energy and creativity. What I really hate are long meetings without a clearly defined goal.

AS: Absolutely. Since we’ve had to move to digital meetings, there have been more of them and they take considerably longer, because you need a lot more coordination. What I love about my job is the fact that I can bring a lot of creativity into the corporate reporting, and into my general communications work. Nothing’s off the table as long as it adds value and you can justify it.

What song comes to mind when you think of your work?

AS: For me, definitely «I’m Still Standing» by Elton John! Just to clarify, that’s because I started my job in lockdown, which meant a 

lot of things were very hard work to begin with. But in the end, it’s all okay!

MC: I hear the song «Try» by Pink in my head. In many ways, it’s a song about holding onto your dreams and desires, even though many things in life aren’t easy and it means taking certain risks in order to achieve what you want to achieve.

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