Review: 1 year COVID-19 in Austria

On Dec. 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) learned of the first cases of a novel pneumonia in China. On Feb. 25, 2020, the first cases were reported in Austria. Events that were to influence the daily lives of all Austrians and herald the most challenging and interesting year in the company’s history.

One Year of Corona in Austria – Chronology of an Exceptional Social and Business Situation

The mobility behaviour of Austrians around the 1st Lockdown

With the announcement of the first lockdown on March 16, 2020, as a measure to combat the pandemic, the work of all Invenium employees increased rapidly. The first day of the hard lockdown also saw the first ORF ZIB1 interview with Invenium co-founder and CSO Michael Cik to ask his opinion on the mobility behaviour of Austrians. The awareness level of the company exploded within these 10 minutes, and on the company website we recorded more than 100,000 views within a very short time. The servers withstood the onslaught.

After the first ZIB1 interview, my smartphone rang constantly. More than 120 personal messages, both positive and negative, had to be processed! Michael Cik – Co-founder Invenium

Until the first gradual relaxation from Easter 2020 and the complete lifting of the measures, we were able to provide an additional source of data with our mobility analyses as a supplementary basis for decision-making for the crisis team of the Austrian federal government. All employees were extremely motivated and wanted to contribute to the fight against the pandemic – start-up lifestyle par excellence in the home office.

It was an extremely exciting and challenging time, which we mastered together as a team. Christopher Horn, Co-Founder and CIO

The home office situation has eliminated the many quick and uncomplicated coordination and coordination meetings over a coffee. Setting up an MS Teams call for every short coordination was sometimes the biggest change for me. Because you are almost no longer in the office and do most things from home, the line between work and free time has become increasingly blurred. Gunnar Schulze, Co-Founder and CTO

Socially, apart from the compulsory use of masks, the summer was normal under the circumstances – until the beginning of November, when a “light” lockdown was declared due to rising infection figures.

For Invenium, however, the summer months were anything but normal. The majority takeover by A1 Telekom Austria took place. This was an important milestone for the company, as well as for the founders, in order to ensure stability and long-term planning. The Invenium family grew during this time and was expanded to include employees in the areas of data science, software development and business development. This is also not a common approach in times like these.

I already made the decision to switch at the beginning of 2020, but the pandemic and the uncertainty unsettled me at the beginning. My luck was that due to the delay, I started in the summer, after the first hard lockdown. So I was able to get to know the team personally and set the course for the majority takeover of A1 with the three founders. This helped me immensely when I later took over the management. Matthias Traub, COO

The mobility behaviour of Austrians around the 2nd lockdown

Due to the small size of the team, we were always able to react quite flexibly to the respective situation during the first lockdown, over the summer and also in the lockdown “light”. But the (new) normality did not last long. From 17.11.2020, the second hard lockdown occurred and we again relied more on the home office. The challenging time began anew and continued.

Now it was time for everyone to take the lessons learned from the first lockdown and find a better balance between work, homeschooling and family. Michael Cik

The home office phase was a particularly challenging time, especially when you have a young child at home. The workplace changed hourly, and the dividing line between work and leisure was very soft. Coffee breaks and kitchen gossip were eliminated, and communication through MS Teams was reduced to a professional exchange for the sake of bandwidth. Especially at that time, there was a lot of understanding on the part of the founders for the situation, even if the background noise was a little louder at times. In order to bring normality into my everyday life, I maintained routines and, for example, dressed every morning as if I were going to the office. Lisa Haller-Steinhäusler, Data Scientist

The mobility behaviour of Austrians around the 3rd lockdown

Daily mobility reporting became more important again due to rising infection rates and worrying hospitalizations. At the beginning of December, the measures were relaxed again and at that time corresponded to the measures during the lockdown “lights”. But the joy lasted only for a short time – from 26.12.20 the third hard lockdown took place. The office was always open for employees who wanted a change from the home office, with the prior use of antigen tests. Michael Cik was appointed unofficial spokesperson for the company. From the beginning of the pandemic until the end of 2020, there were more than 200 interviews and statements – and many more were to follow. In January 2021, we introduced shift work and a testing strategy in the company in order to bring a little “normality” and to promote communication.

My first day at work on 04.01.21 started with an antigen test. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures – The on-boarding process went very well, nevertheless. I felt very well picked up. Personally, I just find it a pity that after almost three months at the company, I still haven’t met all my colleagues in person at least once. Markus Streibl, CBDO

The mobility behaviour of Austrians since the 3rd lockdown

Since January, all staff members have been in an office-home office rotation as described above, and as soon as more than two people are in the office, they are tested. As a result, we have used about 130 antigen tests in the last three months. In the meantime, all of us are absolute test pros – fortunately, all tests have been negative so far.

In retrospect, we (my husband and I) were very privileged because the daycare centres were always open for us (author’s note: Lisa was still on maternity leave during the first really hard lockdown in spring 2020). However, I really miss sitting together with friends and swimming in the indoor pool. Lisa Haller-Steinhäusler

Looking back, it can be said that the last year was very exciting to observe from a scientific perspective. In particular, how the individual lockdown phases affected the mobility of Austrians.

Even though we have found a solution that is acceptable under the circumstances, I am very much looking forward to the time when Corona is history and we, as a team, can visit the guest gardens in the city centre of Graz after our work is done and no longer have to think about Corona. Michael Cik

What can we take away from the last 12 months for us personally, but also as a company?

The social contacts and the personal exchange among each other are very important, on a private but also on a professional level. Also how indispensable nurseries, kindergartens and schools are. But above all, the new challenges and the change in the world of work, working in a home office and the associated change in leadership roles. In the last 12 months, we have found that our employees have the “mind-set” so that we will continue to offer at least one home office day a week in the future, once the COVID19 pandemic has been overcome.

During the home office times, in the different lockdown phases, it was sometimes very difficult to maintain an office communication, especially if one does not meet in person for several weeks. However, I am convinced that at least one home office day a week can work and offer more flexibility. Christopher Horn

Corona was a change for everyone – a change that brought with it a huge digitalisation push in all areas of life. Working and managing 100% digitally has been an exciting and challenging experience, as well as a big adjustment for me and the entire Invenium leadership team. So far, we have been able to master the past months well – whether we can continue to keep the team spirit and productivity high during ongoing and recurring lockdown phases is up to us as a management team. Mario Mayerthaler, CEO

An exciting and challenging 12 months are over. There is a glimmer of hope that the vaccinations are having an effect, so that we can return to the usual, but perhaps also to a new normality in the near future.

A year of Corona in mobility time-lapse. The more orange the districts, the higher the mobility; the greener the districts, the higher the mobility reduction.

Das könnte Sie noch interessieren

2023 Highlights: Event Insights

In 2023, we took a closer look at a variety of events with "Event Insights". At the end of the year, we provide an insight into three of this year's many event highlights.

High fuel price – driving is not less, but slower

In 2022, fuel prices in Austria rose massively, topping the 2-euro mark for the first time. In a detailed study on this topic, the Invenium Data Insights team used anonymized mobile phone data to analyze for the ÖAMTC what impact this additional burden had on motorized private transport.

Mobility & COVID-19

11.10.22 #General

In today's blog post, we would like to explore the question of how our mobility behaviour has changed as a result of COVID-19.