Love at the workplace: Sparks in the coffee kitchen

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Virginia Wolf and Björn Ziska

Four Roche couples recount their story

German employees spend 46 working weeks per year in the company. This is about 1750 hours, which we – sometimes more, sometimes less enjoyably – experience together with our employees. Especially with a family run company like Roche it is hardly surprising that out of some collegial teams something more develops in the end. We have asked couples at our German locations what connects their relationship and their employer.

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Silva and Thomas Gertz

A shy smile in the corridor,  a friendly greeting at the coffee machine – the start of a wonderful story. "There was apparently an interest in getting to know each other better on both sides“, Silva remembers about the beginning with Thomas Gertz. Today she carries his surname. After a lunch with colleagues and a visit to a Christmas market finally set the starting signal for a life together. "Somehow Roche belongs to our relationship from the beginning“, the married couple feels.

Both absolved their dual studies at Roche, then went through stations in marketing and nearly at the same time gained their first experiences as leaders. Today they both respectively work as group leaders in different departments at Roche Diagnostics Deutschland GmbH in Mannheim. There were never any negative comments about their relationship. "Still today some people are surprised that we are a couple. But in general there is a relaxed and open approach to partnerships in the company", they explain.

Also Björn Ziska and Virginia Wolf, both active for Roche Pharma AG in Grenzach, look back on innumerable positive reactions regarding their partnership. A special highlight in their relationship only became possible through Roche: After completing their studies their employer gave them three months leave – and thereby gave them both the chance to travel through Southeast Asia together. After this unforgettable experience they both started full of vitality in their new positions in field staff – in the same area team, as their supervisors intentionally decided.

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Maria and Bernd Maier

Maria and Bernd Maier are also not able to understand that some people cannot imagine working in the same company as their partner. The two laboratory technicians in the specialist field biotechnology cycle to the Penzberg plant together – and can discuss every job problem sitting at the home kitchen table. Although they had already met in September 2001 at the beginning of the training year of the laboratory assistants, they only became a couple after their joint training.

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Mihaela and Mark Hormuth

For Mihaela and Mark Hormuth it was exactly the other way round: They were a couple before professional changes put their relationship to the test. Mark was drawn to Hamburg for Roche, which was to mean four years of long-distance relationship for them both – a difficult time. But still Mihaela, who has been employed at Roche for 17 years, enjoys remembering those times: "We became stronger and love won the day", she summarises. "Without Roche we would have missed this great experience.“

Mihaela answers the question without any hesitation which attributes describe her marriage as well as her employer: "Trust, love, respect and pleasure“. "Mutual support, solidarity and the pursuit of a joint goal“, adds the couple Gertz. And Björn Ziska and Virginia Wolf even attach a hope with their answer: "We have been with Roche for as long as we have been a couple - and we hope that both will hold up equally well!“

Tags: Germany, Career Blog