Although the corona pandemic is not yet over, a certain routine in everyday life is gradually returning. Employees are slowly returning to their offices, everyone has gotten used to wearing masks in the corridors, and constantly disinfecting your hands is now standard practice. But times are not easy – on the contrary, there is a lot to do.

Remote Teamwork makes the dream work

I am currently working as an auditor, primarily for our new product “Back to Business”. We want to help other companies to meet the necessary hygiene standards and protective measures so that they can get back on track. We developed this service in the middle of Corona. It was real remote project work, digitally from home. Pretty exciting!

Such a project brings together many employees: from IT, auditors of course, colleagues for the approval process and many more. But virtual teamwork was not the biggest challenge. Rather, new requirements were constantly being added, and bundling and implementing them was a tough challenge. Since project work is one of my tasks, I love the intense work and a little stress is simply part of it. 😉

Back to Business – our digital project “baby”

My personal highlight: When the development phase is completed and the product is released. After four weeks, we were ready and we could carry out our first audits. “Back to Business” is based on the occupational health and safety standard of the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS-“Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales”) and contains recommendations from associations and unions for each industry. I use a checklist audit to determine the extent to which a company is implementing the requirements of the BMAS standard. And there are quite a few.

Among other things, it must be ensured that the work areas and common rooms are not used to full capacity and that the minimum distance of two meters is maintained. Break times must be staggered so that not all employees go on their lunch break at the same time. Cleaning work must be documented in cleaning plans. And structures must also be created for working in the home office, such as clear work processes, delimited work packages and reliable communication tools. The list could go on. Especially since “Back to Business” is applicable for all industries and can be adapted to the respective requirements worldwide.

Back to Business Corona

Project Offspring: Hygiene Certificate “HIM“

It is particularly important for the operators of restaurants, bars, pubs, and inns to be able to demonstrate that they are doing everything possible to protect the health of their guests, employees, and suppliers. The “Hygiene and Infection Protection Management” (HIM) certification was therefore developed specifically for the hospitality industry. The project was initiated by the VdTÜV, the association of all technical monitoring associations in Germany with the DEHOGA Nordrhein, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, as a partner. The certificate is valid for three years and confirms that the operators systematically deal with hygiene requirements. In addition to the annual surveillance audits, there are also semi-annual unannounced audits during the pandemic period.

A hygiene and infection prevention management audit does not differ much in its procedures from my usual daily business. The length of an audit depends on the size of the company. Depending on the size of the company, it can last about 1.5 hours for a small pub and up to 1.5 days for a large hotel. One part of the check concerns the management. We check documents and have the processes of the company explained to us. During the actual on-site inspection many questions often arise by themselves. If the operational procedures allow it, we also talk to the employees. In doing so, we not only take care of the conditions for employees, customers and guests, but also look at how the suppliers or waste collection is set up.

Building trust for an entire industry

And what is the feedback from customers? Above all, they are surprised. Restaurant proprietors have to fulfill many points anyway, e.g. in the form of a HACCP(Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) concept and cleaning plans. The impulse for the projects came from our worldwide clientele, and so they are now happy to be able to communicate to the outside world with the certificate that they meet all prescribed hygiene requirements. And I am pleased that with our work we are helping to restore confidence in an entire industry.

Germany is quite well protected

We’ve made the best out of the crisis, I think. We all have our crosses to bear, whether in our private or professional lives. But complaining alone doesn’t change anything and doesn’t make the virus disappear. I especially miss the lunch break and drinking coffee with colleagues from other departments. In order to stay up to date in the team, we have a fixed virtual appointment every week where we exchange ideas – about work, projects and of course private matters.

The morale in the team is good, there is enough to do. During the critical corona phase, many audits could not be carried out, which we now have to catch up on. The change between home office, office hours, and on-site audits decelerates quite well, and so time flies by.

Working on the project with other colleagues I have seen how the situation in other countries is. Better even than on TV. This makes it all the more incomprehensible to me that people here in Germany complain about our “restrictions”. Looking beyond the national borders, I became more and more satisfied that the German system protected us quite well without restricting us unreasonably.


Alina Roeder

Alina Roeder


Alina Roeder is an auditor and product manager in the systems area. In addition to her commitment to a wide range of services, she is responsible for our human resources management standard “Excellent Employer”. She is also involved in projects, e.g. of the International Paralympic Committee.

My career-tip for you:

If you notice that you are not challenged enough, encourage and challenge yourself.

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