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After two years of pandemic: is there still a future without a home office?


Will there still be a working world without a home office after the pandemic? Founder and author Teresa Hertwig explains in an interview.

Will there still be a working world without a home office after the pandemic?

Founder and author Teresa Hertwig explains in an interview.

The corona pandemic has turned the world of work upside down.

After the corona measures were lifted, many companies are unclear about how to deal with working from home in the future.

How many days in the home office are appropriate?

What wishes do employees have?

And what options does the employer have?

In an interview with the news agency spot on news

, Teresa Hertwig, founder of the GetRemote agency and author of "Productivity does not need an office", reveals

important tips for employers and explains what role the home office could play in the future.

What are the biggest talking points when it comes to working from home vs. the office?

Teresa Hertwig: The biggest point of discussion is definitely the number of mobile working days allowed.

Because this is where opinions differ – both in management and among employees.

Is it two home office days a week or three, or should the teams be allowed to decide for themselves?

Unfortunately, we still get enough messages from desperate employees or even HR departments whose management summons them back to the office in their entirety.

This is of course an absolute cardinal mistake and destroys any future viability of these companies.

For whom is the return to the office important?

Hertwig: After this long time without colleagues, chatting over coffee and having lunch together, almost everyone is drawn back to the office “once in a while” just to socialize.

Emphasis here really on "sometimes" - because very few want to go back permanently.

If someone wants to go back to the office all the time, it is often due to the living situation, which simply does not allow for a suitable workplace at home.

Or the desire for a clear separation of work and private life is very great.

It's always a matter of personal preference.


Woman works in the home office

© IMAGO / Westend61

Who would like to continue working from home?

Hertwig: There are a variety of reasons for this - above all, of course, people who have learned to appreciate the fact that they don't have to travel to work: the further I live from the office, the more time and quality of life I gain by working from the home office.

In addition, people who prefer the quiet and focus in the home office to the possible noise back in the open-plan office.

Our reasons for or against working from home are as different as we humans are.

It is now important for employers to create a workplace that takes both types of people into account.

What uncertainties do the new home office regulations entail for the employer?

Hertwig: Most employers are in the process of defining a permanent model for the future.

There are definitely uncertainties here, because if you ask five people, you will get five different answers.

Many companies that work with us therefore wish to find an overarching consensus through our advice.

It is important to involve everyone involved in the decision-making process right from the start – the company owners, the management, please don’t forget the works council if you have one, and of course also employee representatives.

This determination phase is often heated, but so far we have always been able to find a good compromise as a starting point.

This also helps with uncertainties: to realize that any determination is not set in stone forever, but should be understood as a starting point that can also be adjusted again.

In any case, we will continue to put the hybrid work culture to the test and thus continue to develop the organization over the next few years.

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What tips do you have for employers when it comes to home office management?

Hertwig: Top-down decisions are somewhat frowned upon in this context, but to be honest: yes, freedom and flexibility, no anarchy.

In order for hybrid work to function permanently, clear structures and regulations are needed.

Because otherwise there are always Pappenheimers who get the greatest advantage for themselves, but perhaps not for the team or the company.

So what employers should do now:

1. Define a rough framework in which mobile working may move in the future.

Not 40 hours in the office à la Elon Musk, but also not 40 hours purely in the home office.

2. It is even more important than the number of home office days to have clear expectations in the teams regarding the cooperation.

We call the team code, which should answer questions like: When do we use which communication channels for what purpose?

How do we enable focus phases?

How do we maintain social exchange in the team?

3. Managers were thrown in at the deep end at the start of the pandemic and some are still swimming there.

Therefore, do not forget to enable the team leaders for hybrid leadership and to equip them with the necessary tools and, above all, to give them the time factor for culture change.

With this body language, the job interview goes wrong

With this body language, the job interview goes wrong

Is it still possible to completely do without home office?

Hertwig: I am of the opinion that companies that refuse to work from home have no future on the labor market.

A customer of ours from a traditional family company reports regularly that in all job interviews the home office topic is now vehemently demanded by the applicants.

Retaining the best talent and attracting top applicants will soon no longer be possible without the opportunity to work from home.

To what extent has the pandemic changed the future world of work?

Hertwig: During the pandemic, a kind of quick wash cycle was started.

What seemed impossible for decades had to work overnight.

Of course, any change in this speed brings with it its teething problems.

That's why all companies are well advised to go back and analyze what has worked well in the last two years and what hasn't.

And we do this together with the employees – because they are the experts for internal processes, functioning processes and communication requirements.

What we can definitely keep for the future is the mindset: Away from "We can't do that!" to "How can we make it possible?".

It is precisely this attitude that moves mountains and makes our economy sustainable.

Would you like more tips on the subject of jobs and careers?

Then follow our news pages on the Xing and LinkedIn career portals.

Teresa Hertwig is the founder of the agency "GetRemote", with which she advises companies on the professionalization of home office, has been leading her teams herself for ten years in a hybrid way and in April her second book "Productivity needs no office" was published by GABAL Verlag.


List of rubrics: © IMAGO / Westend61

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2022-09-26

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