Home office and distributed teams are on everyone’s hands and for many it is a dream to be able to work from anywhere and at any time. What sounds like a dream for employees is the sheer horror for many executives, because the question arises: Does someone still work what?

A typical image in the head of an executive – employees chill ingessinate in the home office

My experience is fundamental that employees who hardly work anything in the office do little at home. On the other hand, hard-working employees are just as diligent at home. A recent study, which examined nearly 30,000 employees, found that home office employees work an average of 4 hours of overtime per week than employees in the office. So the fear that employees are doing nothing only seems to exist in the minds of managers?

Control task completion in the home office

Even with great self-organization and trust, a possibility of control should be possible. To do this, you must first cleanly divide the existing work into small tasks. You must prepare the existing work so that it can be processed using methods such as Scrum and Kanban.

Think of it as eating a cake at a party. Nobody will want to bite directly into the cake because the pieces are too big. So you have to cut it into small pieces. Afterwards, guests can take small pieces and eat. As soon as they are hungry again, they eat the next piece. Eventually the cake is gone. The last pieces that no one wants, then actively distribute at the party.

Virtual work is like distributing a cake

In business, this means that you divide ideas into projects that consist of different tasks. These are clearly described and can be processed by the employees. You can now visualize this using methods such as Scrum and Kanban. As a leader, you always see on one board:

  • What are the remaining tasks?
  • What do my employees do?
  • Where are we blocked?
  • What’s done?
Kanban board with different columns

Above, you can see an example. You can see on the board that there are currently three tasks free and your 4 employees are currently actively working on task 4-7. As a manager, you could take care of the decrease of tasks 10-12 or the blockers 8-9. As you can see, work is being done and no one is resting. With a short daily conference call, you should discuss the board with the team.


You realize that remote work is not difficult and that task completion can still be controlled. I have been working as a manager for a virtual team for more than 2 years and have the best experience with these methods. I am always ready to say what my employees are doing and the transparency is even significantly higher than in on-site teams. The basic requirement is the separation and documentation of the work as well as the visualization by a virtual board.

The dream of employees: Work where, when and how you want!

Tip: Read my book: SMEs in digital transformation at Springer Gabler orbook me for a lecture.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/b%C3%BCro-arbeit-urlaub-recovery-1548297/

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.