It’s a warm summer’s day, the sun is shining, and a few wisps of cloud form a contrast with the deep blue sky. We are sitting outside the head office. Vilma is calm and energetic: she radiates curiosity, shows a real zest for life while is also very grounded in herself. We laugh a lot during our conversation. Vilma gesticulates a lot; her hands flutter while she explains and talks. Her bubbling happiness is contagious. We could sit for hours and chat all day, but we remind ourselves to focus.
"I first met you at a workshop during which you were very positive and driving. Would you agree?"
"Yes, definitely" she exclaims. "I’m positive by nature. I always look for the fun side of everything, talk the most and the loudest. It’s not necessarily that I want to be in the centre of things, but I always seem to end up there".
"Do you put yourself into your work?"
"Absolutely", she responds. "If I contact a customer service line, I want my problem solved and I want to be answered in a pleasant way. So I always keep that in mind when I’m working".
"How long have you worked at Q-Park?"
"I started in November last year. I came here directly from university. I knew I wanted to live in Stockholm so I came here and got the job. At first I was tasked with answering phones and talking with customers. But my boss noticed that I dealt with administrative tasks efficiently, primarily with our long term rentals. So I now spend half the day on the phone and the other half doing administration. I also train our newly employed group and I act as a sort of sounding board for them. I am physically located right in the middle of our group. In the centre." She rolls her eyes and smiles.
"You studied media and communication at university. Are you able to use the skills you learned there in your job?"
"I’m good at writing and expressing myself in Swedish and English. I explain things to customers and our new colleagues in an educational manner. Also I am precise and efficient, and I like trying out new approaches". She reflects for a second and adds: "I like it here, that my boss is open to new ideas".
She goes on to talk about how she was able to improve efficiency by starting to send SMS messages to customers she wanted to get hold of.
"It was so easy when I started", she laughs. "Not that many people answer their phones to unknown numbers and emails don’t get checked all that often". I started sending text messages and found that customers quickly rang back, happy to get confirmation that we had a parking place for them".
That little trick made her everyday life much easier and showed how further developments could be brought in.
"I always want new challenges," she continues: "There is still plenty more I want to achieve at Q-Park. We have such a great team spirit and atmosphere in our group. We work well together and enjoy our work.”
"What do you do when you’re not at work?"
"Now, during the summer, I spend a lot of time at outdoor cafes and restaurants with my friends. Yoga and meditation are also part of my daily routine."
Her thoughts move quickly to her mother – the source of inspiration for her yoga and meditation.
"My mum is a midwife and a yoga instructor. She runs her own yoga studio. When I was younger I thought she looked a bit crazy with all the different postures and poses she would put herself into. But now I understand what it’s all about. It’s about finding balance and strength. And then meditation helps me to relax and get some perspective."
"What does your future hold?"
"I love writing", says Vilma. "Writing and helping people. I would love to do something that combines those two passions."
The sun is still shining as we head back into the office. Vilma goes back to her workplace – in the middle of the open office landscape.