Scaling Up Performance

When it comes to outstanding output and performance, our redox flow battery is the first thing that comes to our mind at VoltStorage. We are all familiar with the concept of “scalable performance.” Often enough, it is also essential to deliver and boost performance outside of work, especially in sports. How good it is when the two can be combined - which is exactly what our colleague Sonja is doing. Thanks to considerable flexibility and freedom in terms of structuring her working hours – and with the support of her team colleagues – she can, in addition to her office job, maintain a demanding training schedule for her side career as a triathlete and easily juggle both her ambitions.

At Work and in Sports

With her many years of experience, the trained event and HR specialist is an important part of our People & Culture team. Her extended stays abroad in the USA and Canada not only gave her international insights and experiences, but also showed her that sport can indeed be combined with school, training or work. This is especially important when an athlete is striving for a specific level of performance and regards their sport as more than just a leisure activity. It hinges on the ability to structure one´s time flexibly, fit training plans around office hours, and balance workload and training commitments.

Running, Swimming, Cycling – and Always Pushing Back Boundaries

Here at VoltStorage, Sonja manages the lion’s share of administrative tasks relating to our current employees. This encompasses not only administration and payroll but also many other People & Culture related projects. What’s more, the move from our previous locations in the south of Munich to the new address in the north of Munich means there is something new to do every day – so Sonja is certainly never bored. Even if other people might break out in a sweat at all this, for her it is sport that has given her a balance to her work.

“I discovered triathlon during the first coronavirus lockdown, as jogging alone was not enough,” she explains. “I am not only fascinated by the physical challenge of running, swimming, and cycling, but also by the fact that you are on the go much longer and much further. In a way, this became a kind of substitute, as we were only able to travel and move around to a very limited extent in the early days of the pandemic.”

This initial sense of freedom has since evolved into a clear personal expectation in terms of her own performance. And this applies in more than one respect. Firstly, there are her sporting ambitions of competing in the second division of the Triathlon Bundesliga, entering the long-distance discipline of Challenge Roth, and ultimately qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. The second challenge lies in balancing these ambitions with her working hours, especially given the intense training schedule required.

A Juggling Act

What is also needed is a willingness to accommodate these goals on the part of the company. This is made all the easier by management. In addition, many of Sonja’s colleagues at VoltStorage have a similar mindset and share her passion for sports.

Flexible working hours are crucial: “Up to now, I usually trained early in the morning before work, meaning I would often come straight to the office from swimming, and would then complete my second training session straight after work. At the new office in Detmoldstrasse in northern Munich, I can imagine taking advantage of the close proximity to the Olympic Park. After all, we also have showers available at our new state-of-the-art offices – so conditions could hardly be better,” explains Sonja.

Alongside this flexibility, VoltStorage also provides further support as an employer to ensure that training – including preparation, physiotherapy, and recovery – can go hand in hand with work. The option of working from home, for instance, removes the need to travel to and from training routes. The vast majority of activities within the People & Culture team, as well as interaction with colleagues, can be done virtually, with everyone using collaborative tools and programs.

In addition to technological assistance, there are also a few voluntary perks that Sonja can rely on at VoltStorage. These include preventive health-care initiatives and programs such as Wellpass, which gives all employees a discount when using swimming pools and other sports facilities in Munich. This represents a massive cost saving for someone who uses these amenities so frequently.

Team Spirit and a Passion for Sports, Both at Work and in Training

And then there are other opportunities that Sonja is only too happy to seize whenever they arise. At this year’s Volt Weekend, which was held in the Allgäu region in August, she traveled the more than 150 km to the event on a racing bike, completed outdoor swimming in the nearby Alpsee lake, and then went for a run. Any questions?

Thought not. She doesn’t need to explain herself to any great degree, as so many of her VoltStorage colleagues are passionate about sports themselves. “This creates a shared bond and makes working here so much more fun. There is always something to talk about. Occasionally, the people who you are standing with on the start line, like at last year’s Frankfurt Marathon, also end up being your colleagues.”

So how easy is it to balance work and sports? “In my opinion, very easy,” says Sonja. “It requires considerable planning and discipline, especially for the various different training sessions needed for triathlon. But I love this sport and put my heart and soul into it. And the same goes for my work – so where there’s a will, there’s a way.”