Due to Corona, many companies have decided to send their employees to the home office 100%. In any case, the current state of affairs should continue until shortly after Easter 2020. But what happens after this time how will the presence in the office develop in the next few years? I would like to discuss my opinion in this article.

Corona will last for some time

Since we have to live with Corona for a few more years or other virus pandemics are not excluded, we should continue to prepare for home office. Especially due to the current situation, many companies have massively upgraded remote technologies. Examples are chat systems, task management, file sharing, etc.

Reading Tip: Virtual Teams Tools

Balancing office and office

Already in my roundtable the following was proposed:

One to two days of home office per week does not reduce productivity and sometimes even increase it.

So I believe that after Corona, office hours can be reduced for safety and that we let 50% of the employees into the office every day. So I think that especially in IT towards September we will be 2-3 days in the home office and 2-3 days in the office.

I have been working regularly in the home office for 3 years and have already completely adapted my working method to the work between home office and the office of my company. But home office is something new for many companies. If you look at a study of a master’s degree from me, you realize that many people are not allowed to do a home office at all. With almost 40 employees interviewed from the knowledge work, it was almost 1/3 not possible to make home office.

homeoffice study
Study as part of my research with Paul Niebler

Tips for the home office

It is important that you realize that virtual work cannot work the way you do in the office. The cooperation does not run via hallway radio, but via software tools.

Reading Tip: Virtual Teams Tools

It is important that you have a meaningful communication infrastructure. This is for me:

  • Task management tool such as Kanboard or Jira
  • Chat system like RocketChat
  • Mail servers such as Open Xchange
  • Staff such as Joplin or OneNote
  • File sharing like ownCloud
  • Edit common documents such as OnlyOffice or OpenOffice
  • Meeting options such as Kopano or Zoom
Collaborate on documentation from an ownCloud

Reading Tip: OpenSource Stack for Remote Work

These technologies are your first port of call. For example, set a task in Jira and then discuss it with colleagues in Rocketchat. Create a document in ownCloud and edit it with colleagues at a video conference via screen sharing.

Reading tip: Control work in the home office

Tips for new office

Since many employees are in the home office every day, it will also change in the office. For example, fewer tables and permanent jobs are needed. It is therefore time to think about a new office design.

The theme: Acitivity-based working defines an “ultimate workplace” that is suitable for any kind of work and in which there is a culture of trust and a lasting networking. The figure shows the idea behind the activity based working. Quiet work, which is carried out in a fixed workplace, can be carried out without problems in the home office. Meetings and creative work in the office.

futurework
A workplace for all activities. Open office worlds, think tanks, creative spaces and retreat rooms instead of a “single” workplace (Own representation based on Detecon, image source: noris network)

The office transforms into a place of communication and networking instead of routine work. This requires situation-oriented spaces that both promote creative exchange or project work, as well as offer opportunities for retreat.

Conclusion

No one can currently say what happens after the current measures around Corona, but we should use it and promote virtual work and adapt current personal appointments like in the office to a new kind of work. The home office will certainly gain in importance and we can thus reduce work-life balance as well as contacts between people.

Reading tip for managers: Control work from the home office

Image source: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/arbeitsplatz-schreibtisch-computer-1246677/

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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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.

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