Dr. Jan Hoffmann, Head of the Trade Logistics Branch within the Division on Technology and Logistics at UNCTAD, associates wellness with harmony. He emphasizes that his well-being is linked to coherence across various aspects of his life—between actions and words, work and personal interests, his interests and those of his colleagues, and the alignment of what is beneficial for his body with what supports his mental well-being.
through an engaging blog, featuring captivating photos and stories. In his view, for the maritime community, enhanced communication, monitoring, and tracking technologies are pivotal. These advancements, he believes, will strengthen the connection between shore and sea, ultimately contributing to improved well-being and an enriched overall working experience.ecently, Jan has incorporated stretching into his daily routine, recognizing its positive impact on his physical health. He generously shares his unique experiences and travels
SAFETY4SEA: What does ‘wellness’ mean to you? What do you do in your every day life to embrace wellness?
Jan Hoffmann: Perhaps “harmony” is the best word to describe when I feel well. Harmony, or consistency, or coherence between what I do and what I say, between work and personal interests, between my interests and colleagues’ interests, between what is good for my body and what is good for my mind. I choose my battles.
S4S: What are the two things to do that can make you feel happy after a challenging day?
J.H.: The harmony between 1) walking and 2) listening to books. I walk from and to the office and arrive energized at home, to be with family after disconnecting from the office during a 30 minute walk along green parks and Geneva’s international organizations. Listening to an average of one book per week on audible.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile wellbeing investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
J.H.: I hate wasting time and still today am happy that at the age of 16 I took a course in 10 finger type writing. Later, I learned all the tricks of MsWord styles and automation, plus shortcuts for the smartphone email app. Personal productivity and an empty in-box allows me to focus on what matters.
S4S: What do you do to keep balance between your personal and business life?
J.H.: A “balance” sounds like there is an underlying conflict. I rather like to believe that I have a paid hobby: Travelling the globe meeting amazing people. Visiting ports with my Nikon, and then create photo calendars for family and friends. My family knows my colleagues, and my colleagues come to my home for a regular summer BBQ. It is a way to have harmony (not a balance) between work and personal life.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your personal life?
J.H.: Following backpain during Covid (no walking and bad seating), I started to do some funny gymnastics and stretching for 15 minutes every day. My physiotherapist told me to do this every day for the rest of my life. And it seems to work – so far: I am still alive.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape with regards to wellbeing?
J.H.: The difference between work on board and ashore is getting blurred. Better communication, monitoring and tracking technologies a) allow officers and seafarers to see the commercial and operational context of their journey, and b) staff ashore can see what is happening to the journey, the engine, the cargo, and the crew on the vessels. This development offers potential for an enriched work experience, which – I think – can also improve wellbeing.
S4S: What wellness-promoting initiatives would you like to see in the workplace?
J.H.: As organizations grapple with staff working more often from home, we all need to learn from experiences. Working from different locations has advantages and disadvantages, and employers should support staff through flexibility, creative ways of monitoring productivity (sitting in an office 9 to 5 is not enough), and in my view also financially to ensure adequate home-office equipment and space.
S4S: What is the one thing that you are feeling grateful at the moment?
J.H.: At this moment I am grateful for the calypso music in the background, while I sit on a hotel balcony in Barbados (yes, travelling for work), filling out a questionnaire from Safety4Seas, which reminds me how lucky I am.
S4S: What are your hobbies/ favorite activities?
J.H.: Walking while listening to books, photography, playing just4fun with family, climbing up gantry cranes (https://janhoffmann.live/2023/11/07/the-port-crane-collection) and empirical research on hair cuts (https://janhoffmann.live/2016/04/30/hair-cuts).
S4S: What is your personal motto?
J.H.: I am Cancer, and we Cancers do not believe in horoscopes.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.