08.05.2020 | News
New ways of working at home
Using the corona crisis as an opportunity - Part 1 of 3
By Katharina Heger
The skills we build up during the period of isolation can be taken into the world after the crisis, and we will continue to do this: Home office will become an integral part of our work environment, people will increasingly work in virtual teams. This new form of cooperation not only saves time and money, but also our energy resources...
We will experience for ourselves what the "new work" means to us. How it feels when you suddenly have less travel activity, when you can bring more regularity into your daily work routine and thus have more time for yourself and your family. The increased quality of life will have a positive effect on our work performance.
Will everything remain different? Will everything be new?
Through the social distance measures, we have the opportunity to question and perhaps redesign our way of working. Let us use this unique opportunity - for example, by focusing on the real purpose of our organisations and our activities within them and by eliminating all unproductive time-eaters. When, if not now.
Just think back to the time before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic: How many of us ran like a hamster in our wheel and couldn't get out of the system,.. had several projects at the same time and meetings from morning till evening. For many people, the Corona crisis practically broke this hamster wheel, they were pushed out of the system - because the order of the day was "home office". From one week to the next, this brought about a marked deceleration in the world of work away from the crisis-high-concentration sectors such as medicine, the food trade, the executive branch etc.
Questioning the old ways of working
Sooner or later it became quiet in the offices. Many people tried out teleworking in virtual meetings for the first time and gradually people became more active and the old familiar feeling of pressure returned. Before this pressure is seamlessly restored to normal working practice, we should use the lever and question the purpose of our tasks and the purpose of the company: What was really important, what was perhaps less important ? Why does our organisation exist at all and what is my part in all of this?
That is exactly where we need to go: For customer orientation and benefit generation: Where does the customer have a problem, a need, how can we generate a benefit for him.
Many of us are now standing outside our everyday work routine for the first time, we can reflect on some things and also change them. If we assume that we have to build up our business after the crisis, we are well advised to use our work performance correctly and to leave out those things that eat up time, produce little output and do not serve the purpose. We should all prepare ourselves for this...because the responsibility will largely lie with each individual person.
We now have the opportunity to take a big step, to make a big development that will help us socially, but that can also help us economically. It is important that we embrace this learning experience and use this opportunity to reflect and question things.
Trying out new work in the home office
Focus on one project - with prioritization for more efficiency
Instead of working on several to (very) many projects simultaneously, it makes sense to focus on one project after the other. This eliminates the situation where employees are bombarded with tasks from above (or from several sides), on which they then work simultaneously and have no end in sight. The focus on ONE project means a selection and evaluation: I do what is really important until it is finished. Only then is the next project tackled. This means that those projects that are not - really - important, but often time-consuming, are not processed at all. Who - apart from the habit - says that you have to work on several projects at the same time all the time? On the contrary: There are a number of studies that prove that it is much more effective if a team focuses on one (!) project instead of being confronted with several tasks in parallel.
Using the advantages of teleworking
Our experience of working from home raises our awareness of how we use our resources. Many of us made the experience that virtual team meetings are actually more effective than physical ones. Meetings that we used to sit in for two or three hours can be done in virtual space in 40 to 50 minutes ... with the same output.
So why is this the case? One reason is the polite conversation that is inevitable in physical meetings and which takes a lot of time. According to studies, the fear of losing face in discussions or proposals also comes into play in physical meetings, which is why people often don't get straight to the point and beat around the bush instead. This happens rarely in the virtual world because the focus on "time is money" is more effective here. However, it's not only the time resource that is saved significantly through virtual work, but also the costs saved from travel and overnight stays. In addition, there is the spatial and temporal flexibility and last but not least the environmental factor, by eliminating car trips, i.e. saving CO2 emissions.
All these advantages have been on the agenda for a long time and here and there something may have changed, but the big turnaround - as it has now happened due to the crisis - has never happened before. Why this kind of working had never been applied before has primarily to do with the issue of "trust".
Senior Consultant, next level consulting