Dragonfly’s remote southern office

12 September, 2016

 - credit:

Fast electronic communication with the team in Wellington and good workflow processes enable staff member Dr Katrin Berkenbusch to live and work happily from her home on Otago Peninsula.

“I feel like I live in paradise! I think the peninsula is a really special, beautiful place. I enjoy the wilderness of nature here but also access to a city in close proximity. It’s the best of both worlds,” she says.

Extending east from Dunedin, Otago Peninsula is home to New Zealand’s only mainland colony of albatross, as well as penguins, seals and sea lions. Recent work by the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group has seen possums eradicated and stoats and rats are next on their list. “I really like the quietness here – and I don’t mind the cold. The remote working works well for me because of all the writing and editing I do – I feel I can just focus on that without distractions. Also, because of our instant communication, like Slack and Google Chat, I don’t feel like I’m not in the office. I still have that personal contact, which is really amazing.”

Visits to Wellington a few times a year also help Katrin to stay connected with the rest of the team.

“It’s about smart collaboration. I often work closely with one person in the office, and we can be really reactionary and fast with queries and questions. Our backing up is all done through the cloud, through GitHub for example. It’s transparent and has good tracking, so if I raise an issue that needs addressing, there’s a record of it that’s available to everyone. I find it a very productive and efficient environment.”

Katrin also leads Dragonfly’s intertidal shellfish surveys each summer and maintains close links with the University of Otago, where she is an adjunct lecturer. Its Portobello Marine Laboratory is just down the road.

“Dragonfly is a very dynamic workplace – there’s always something happening. I love being involved in such a wide array of projects. Then I have my own projects just outside my door, including a wetland that I’m trying to restore.”

Read about Dragonfly’s involvement with the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group or about results from an analysis of intertidal survey data.