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Desk sharing: My office was my second home


Heike's company eliminates permanent jobs and introduces desk sharing. That feels strange: sitting at empty tables in the future. How can Heike cope with the new situation?

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Photo: Niels Blaesi / DER SPIEGEL

Heike, 49 years old, asks: "Because many colleagues want to continue working from home, our company decided to reduce the office space and introduce desk sharing.

I actually think the idea is great and I'm also very open to new ideas.

Nevertheless, I had a lump in my throat when I had to pack all my things from more than a decade of office life into boxes.

The office was my second home before Corona.

Now it feels like my professional self is suddenly gone.

How do I get rid of this feeling?”

Dear Heike,

our working world has felt like it's gone through a spin cycle in the last two years.

From one day to the next all routines and habits were gone.

We had to change completely.

And since then, the changes in everyday professional and private life have continued.

Again and again we have to understand how this affects us and what each individual change means for us.

Stability and predictability, which otherwise give us security, are currently in short supply.

On the other hand, loss aversion, a psychological phenomenon, is booming - especially when something important is completely lost or taken away, such as one's own office.

Psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, based on their Nobel Prize-winning research, have shown that people attach more importance to the risk of losing something than to the possibility of gaining something.

This is accompanied by fear of loss, decisions are more difficult for us and our insecurity increases.

It is understandable that this is also noticeable physically as a lump in the throat.

Uncertainty is the central factor that affects a lot of what happens around us - and which we usually have little influence on.

It is therefore helpful to focus more on yourself, that is, on yourself as a person and human being.

Behind your professional self lies the question: »What actually makes me special?« and also »What is left of me now?«

Of course, that's not an easy question to answer.

You won't get any further if you don't do your own deep thinking and awareness.

As a guide I have put together a few questions and suggestions.

Please take enough time for the introspection, because we usually deal less with ourselves - that's why it's unusual at first.

Likewise, we need a bit until we find the right descriptive words.

Therefore: take a break if you get stuck and then move on to the next stage at a suitable time!

Four questions that will help you

So, here are the questions - and please answer/describe in detail:

  • What is special about your work?

  • On which topics do colleagues ask you for advice?

  • What are you particularly proud of in your professional life?

  • What successes have you been able to celebrate?

For each question, explain: How exactly did you proceed?

What did you do specifically?

It often helps to talk to colleagues about a past collaboration or a successful project.

Revel in the positive memories together and listen carefully to what is said about your contribution at this point.

The annual or appraisal interviews often provide useful information.

All of these jigsaw pieces then result in your personal picture.

As you can see, everything revolves around your personal strengths, which are an essential part of your professional self.

The active, self-determined use of strengths and skills promotes self-efficacy, which is of central importance for our well-being, keyword: positive feelings.

Self-efficacy is the opposite of heteronomy.

No matter what happens around us, we can always count on our strengths.

They belong to us and support us in all aspects of life - and they cannot be taken away from us.

So focus your professional self on that and focus on ways to use your strengths as often as possible.

Now a few more words on the topic "What can we gain from the changes?" When it comes to the office, I often hear that the people there value the exchange and contact with colleagues above all.

This includes lunch together, meetings or informal conversations at the coffee machine.

The home office, on the other hand, is preferred when it comes to concentrated, undisturbed work.

The more we understand what supports our well-being and our success at work, the better we can combine and use the new working world opportunities.

There is a completely different scope now.

Take an active part in shaping your own new world of work: that is lived self-efficacy.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-11-28

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