Combine passion with work is most people’s dream, so naturally, being the project manager of a company that certifies people as fitness trainers was the perfect fit for Jan Morgenbrod, a former semi-professional field hockey player.
Today in our Meet our Members series we introduce you to Jan, our most sporty member, in this interview where we spoke about being a project manager, how hectic it was starting this new job fully remote and more!
Can you tell us about your position and your company?
I am the Project Manager of an enterprise called Online Fitness Academy, where we sell different online studying programs to become a licenced Fitness Trainer. We have 3 training programs: Licence C, B and A. The last is the higher one you can obtain as a trainer.
My company mostly offers affiliate marketing services, and it belongs to a bigger holding based in Baden-Württemberg.
What are your responsibilities as a Project Manager?
Basically, I have to make sure everything is going good in the project: the products, the website, the customers, the marketing, etc. I must analyse if there is room for optimizations, if they must be done now or leave for later. I work with several people, freelancers or employees of the same holding: graphic designers, experts in paid advertising, marketing or IT for instance.
What are the most useful skills as a Project Manager?
One soft skill needed is decisiveness. As a Project Manager, you are responsible for everything around the project. Whenever a little or big problem arises, you have to make a quick decision on your own. You can’t take 2-3 days to find the perfect solution. For me, the best way is to think about it for 10-15 minutes, then decide and do. If it doesn’t work then you know it for the next time. Just trial and error!
Being organized is also important and an understanding of every part of the project. You have to know a bit about everything but not perfectly. For instance, is important to understand how paid advertising works, what are its processes, but you don’t need to know how to make a great-converting ad. You have specialized people for each task.
What do you like the most about your job?
My whole life I’ve been totally interested in sports. I enjoy watching many on TV and also practicing them. I even played hockey in a semi-professional way and as a consequence of this passion, I studied Sports Economics. I think a lot about sports in my free time and what I love the most is that I can combine this with my job. For me, it’s important to work on something that interests me.
A second aspect I relish is offering a new alternative to obtain a certification as a Fitness Trainer completely online, remote and in your own schedule, so every student can be its own time manager. Opposite to this is the classic method where people do the training probably only on the weekends, from 8 am to 4 pm in a period of 4 or 5 weeks with instructors teaching you, but I don’t think is the case anymore with corona.
With online training you study in the time you have available, that might not always be on weekends.
The Tempelhofer Feld, one of Jan’s, and many Berliners, favourites places in Berlin.
You are working fully remote for the first time. What can you say about remote work and starting a job this way?
Before I started they offered me to come to Baden-Württemberg, but for me, it was not an option as I have all my family and friends here. So, I became a remote worker, and I really like it! Remote work is a good chance to manage yourself, to do things how you like to and be more independent in your tasks. You still have to wait for other’s responses sometimes, but in my case, I have more freedom about when to complete my 40 hours and to adapt my schedule if I need to take care of my son or something like that.
But it wasn’t so great to start the job completely remote: during the first 3 days I had an induction with many hours of video calls and it was way too much. It was very hard to follow all this new information by watching stuff on a screen. Completely different from the normal induction where you are face to face with a colleague that besides explaining you is available for all the questions that naturally arise on your first week. Is way better that way than having to call or write an email for all those initial questions about the job, the company, the processes, etc.
My advice for anyone starting a remote work is if possible, to have a face to face induction for the first one or two weeks. That would have made things much easier for me!
And because of this new remote job you found Engelnest…
Yeah, I needed a place to work remotely as home-office was not really an option. I’m very bad at doing that. I searched for private offices first but they didn’t seem a good fit for me. I visited three other coworking spaces and when I came here we had a good conversation with Ferhat (our founder) about the neighbourhood. Since he grew up here and I graduated from the school nearby, we both know well this area. That’s how it is in Engelnest, very familiar in comparison to how I felt other coworking spaces in Berlin and I liked that.
How has Engelnest improved your work-life quality?
In first place, for me is a really good environment to work on this project as the vibe here is definitely work focused. I had the feeling other spaces in Berlin are a bit more ‘hip’ and people are there to work of course, but let’s say with less pressure and tend to socialize more than working. In my case, I have to bring this project to reality within the planned deadlines.
The other aspect that has helped me is also the social part as I knew I need it during my breaks or at lunchtime. As I said, the environment feels very familiar here… I talk to you, sometimes we go together with Marc for lunch, and there is no one here that I don’t like! Probably in other coworking spaces is the same way but I don’t really know.
What do you do in your free time?
I used to play field hockey but now I do more jogging, bouldering or even badminton. Besides doing sports I like to relax outside in nature and also in the city, visiting my parents on the outskirts of Berlin, or hang out with good friends.
What are your favorite places in Berlin?
I really like my neighborhood! Schöneberg is not that touristic like other places in Berlin, especially Kreuzberg or Neukölln. The Rote Insel is a good place to hang around; there are nice small cafes and some playgrounds for children (haha).
Tempelhofer Flugfeld is definitely on the list as there’s not another place in the city with so much open space where you can have such a wide view! Is a great place to just chill without being bothered by houses or trains!
I think I like every space where I can do some sports and relaxing afterwards. Like the boulder that’s right here in the NaumannPark, Brightside Project. Once you finished your bouldering you can hang around there, drink a beer in the garden and watch the others do their route.
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