People

A refuge from the digital world

Nora Honegger and Mauro Loretz have been running the Maighelshütte lodge above Sedrun for four years now. They spent both summer and winter at 2,310 meters above sea level, far away from civilization. They see their lodge as a refuge and an oasis, and they make sure their guests can enjoy a stay that is as close to a digital detox as possible. Behind the scenes, though, digital services are a big help to the couple who run the lodge.

Isabelle Flury

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“A digital aid that does all my admin, runs the website and regularly posts on Facebook and Instagram? Yes please!” Nora, wearing a fleece jumper, is sitting in the cosy, sun-soaked dining room of the Maighelshütte lodge doing tedious admin work. With a frown on her face, she looks up from her laptop to a thick folder: “It’s not exactly my favourite thing in the world.” 

Breakfast has just finished, and things are quiet in the lodge. Someone is baking bread and cake in the kitchen, and initial preparations are being made for dinner. “I actually never planned to take on the lodge. I felt it was far too much work and responsibility. I actually wanted to work as a teacher in Zurich,” explains Nora. The 33-year-old Graubünden native grew up in Sedrun. Her parents spent 27 years running the Maighelshütte lodge, Nora’s second home.  

When her parents decided to give up the lodge four years ago, Nora realized she couldn’t imagine a life without it: “Despite having some misgivings, I decided to take on this challenging, but really exciting work up here with my boyfriend Mauro, and we’ve never looked back!” Challenging because the days are long and the work never seems to end. Sometimes Nora and Mauro spend weeks at the lodge almost non-stop. But challenging also because a huge mountain of an entirely different kind was waiting for her: the digitization of working processes.

Copyright: Nora Honegger

The huge digitization mountain

Bookings, the cash system, accounting, purchases, correspondence, etc, etc – we were still doing everything on paper, and we just weren’t keeping up with the times. They have since managed to climb part of this mountain. Both use the online booking system SAC, they have switched over to a digital cash system and have introduced an Internet-based document filing system, which their fiduciary also has access to. Fewer piles of paper and lever-arch files, and admin that is a lot easier to handle. The website actually comes in handy too seeing as they don’t have to deal with as many queries over the phone. But they haven’t quite reached the summit yet. 

Copyright: Nora Honegger

More time for teamwork, nature and guests

At the moment they’re considering receiving their mail digitally via the ePost App so they don’t have to collect their mail down in the valley. SwissID Sign, a certified digital signature, would also make things easier for Nora and Mauro. They would be able to sign documents digitally using the website and send them by encrypted e-mail, for instance with IncaMail. This would save them the hassle of posting the documents, having to go to certain offices and notary appointments. 

“Until recently, we had no idea that Swiss Post offered these sorts of digital aids as well, and we think it’s great. After all, the fact that we want to be an oasis and refuge for our guests, and one that provides the best possible digital detox, doesn’t mean we are going to completely do away with all things digital. On the contrary: behind the scenes, digital services actually make our lives a lot easier. This way, we get a bit more time to ourselves, but above all we get to devote more time to what makes working at the lodge so great: teamwork, nature and, of course, our guests. They are at the center of our little universe,” says Nora, ending the conversation and standing up to explain to a lady that there’s no Wi-Fi for the guests. “But feel free to sit on the terrace to enjoy the tranquillity and the stunning view. Welcome to our paradise.”

 

In search of the most digital valley in Switzerland in 2023

Innovation and cutting-edge digital work isn’t just something you get in big cities. Digital progress is in fact possible and indeed necessary in rural areas in particular, and there is certainly no lack of creative solutions here!

In partnership with the magazines “Schweizer Illustrierte” and “L’Illustré”, and Swisscom too, Swiss Post wants to recognize precisely these sorts of smart, sustainable and successful digital projects in the periphery, and raise their profile. Valleys, villages and municipalities with no more than 10,000 inhabitants can take part in the competition “Digi-Tal 2023”. Specific projects can be submitted here up until 31 October: digi-tal-schweiz.ch.

And how do Swiss people envision the «most digital valley in Switzerland»? Have a look!

written by

Isabelle Flury