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You Won’t Out-Coffee This Receptionist From Jacobs Douwe Egberts

Article March 26, 2021

Article

What does she like most about her work at the reception? And on the other hand, what really riles her up? For this installment of our interviews with receptionists, we’ve grilled Zuzana Karcagiová.

Late last year, the headquarters of coffee and tea colossus Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) for Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary moved into the new Parkview offices in Prague’s Pankrác district. How do things there look—and especially smell?

Read on for fresh firsthand impressions from their likable receptionist with Slovak roots and a huge appetite for coffee, Zuzana Karcagiová, whom we interviewed online in mid-February.

Foto: Jan Rasch

What’s the first thing you do after coming in to work?

It may be a weird habit, but the first thing I do in the morning is greet people. I just go in and say “Good morning!”, without caring whether there’s anyone at the reception or not. I take this as an expression of politeness, and that’s simply the foundation of my work. Right after that I turn on my PC, make my morning coffee, change into heels, and my shift can begin.

Have you had a chance yet to enjoy the new Parkview offices despite the coronavirus? What do you like the most?

Despite the current situation, I’m getting more than enough of the offices, because I’m among the lucky folks who go to work every day and spend relatively a lot of time there. The new spaces are fantastic, modern, and above all beautiful, and have a fantastic view. It’s completely different than the offices we were sharing before.

What I like most—unsurprisingly—is our reception, which I (and the rest of us) call my “kingdom.” It’s the space where I spent the most time, where I have my stuff, and it’s somehow mine, partly because the other receptionist and I arranged it.

The Parkview office building – a new "jewel" in Prague's Pankrác district and also a project awarded as the 2nd greenest building in the world.

WHAT’S THE SMELL OF WORK?

Coffee, or tea? Which wins out at the Jacobs Douwe Egberts office?

Coffee and tea go hand in hand at our office. But if I had to decide for myself, then definitely coffee. For me it’s a miracle drink full of energy. So I drink at least 5 cups of coffee a day. Hot and cold, grind and capsules... And because I’m often making it for someone else, what I enjoy most is coffee someone makes for me. No matter whether it’s the other receptionist or my barista workmates from the Professional Team.

So does the famous “magical aroma” of Jacobs coffee waft through the new offices?

That’s right. Partly because the furnishings at our new office are based on the new JDE Barista design, so the moment you walk in, you feel like you’re entering a world of coffee and tea. (The JDE portfolio also contains e.g. the Pickwick tea brand—editors’ note.) You’d smell them here even if you didn’t want to. For me it’s fortunately one of the prettiest aromas. It’s a pleasant reminder that I’m at work. So I can actually say that for me, that “magic aroma” is the smell of work.

Foto: Jan Rasch

THE OFFICE PSYCHOLOGIST

Is work at the Jacobs Douwe Egberts reception different than for other companies’ receptions?

Yes, it is. I know receptionists from other companies, and all their talk about how they’re bored and do nothing has me quite surprised. Here there’s always something to do, either on a PC or on foot. Honestly I’m moving more than I’m sitting. Whenever I get the idea of loafing, I instead try and go fill up on coffee or tea, check the meeting room, the kitchen, sort the post, and lots more. That might be one reason why the Jacobs reception “always has somebody there,” and I’m proud I can be that somebody.

What do you like most about your work?

Variety, action, speed, proactivity. The best for me is when you’re there for the whole process start-to-finish. I like preparing things for our employees—from gifts (which are often surprises) to various events like parties and team-building. I also like how I’m a sort of psychologist for them. People often come up to me and chat about various problems and situations, they come up and ask about my opinion, or sit for coffee on a whim. It’s nice I can be there for them.

Foto: Jan Rasch

What on the other hand really riles you up?

This is such varied work that basically nothing can surprise you or rile you up. But I’m also only human, and I’ve got my moods and problems. Sometimes I’m left to shake my head at what workmates want from us, but I take it as a challenge. I’m probably most bothered when people don’t follow the established rules and I have to remind them nonstop, even though they’re banal things like following the internal parking rules.

Read more: Interviews with receptionists (series)

►►► The Receptionists at WMC: Is It Hard to Work in A Mask? What Makes Them Play Detective?

►►► The Receptionist at Milton: We´re Like a Family. But 1 Thing Makes Her Mad

►►►The LMC Receptionists: The Sugar And Tea Policy Works on Our Colleagues