Home office is a culture change that can’t be ignored

Are all workers back to work on Monday? Certainly not. But the obligation imposed on businesses by law to allow their employees to work from home ended with the expiration of the federal emergency brake. This means that the decision of where to work is once again in the hands of bosses and HR offices – and with it the question of what can be learned from the experience of compulsory home working time. Both continue to harbor a potential for conflict between employers and employees. However, the time to consider post-corona work has been long enough. At first, many employees just hope that they don’t get sent back to the office with a bang, but that their employers gently treat the innovations that have been put in place in recent months. It was above all about the positive experience of personal responsibility and a sense of responsibility for the company – and that with a relatively high security for their own health.

Corona protection continues to be a problem. Because even if the government allows people to go to the office again (with testing and distance requirements), the pandemic is ultimately not over. The delta variant is spreading and concerns about the fall are growing. On the part of companies, this requires a continuous effort to ensure the protection of the health of employees. In many cases, that alone should be reason enough to continue with home office operations.

However, this view has already struggled to be accepted by company management – which is why statutory regulation was needed in the first place. Should it suddenly be different now?

And beyond the protection of health, there is also the cultural change which will be difficult to ignore. All surveys show that employees, including executives, would like to continue working from home in some cases. The reasons for this range from saved commute time, to better and more focused work, to a new form of freedom and self-determination that young people in particular appreciate. These new, downright revolutionary experiences will also play a role in debates about the design of work. from now on.

How to manage the mistrust of managers?

However, carelessly in many companies the debates about what to do after Corona have not even started. The middle of summer vacation is definitely a bad time to start. However, there is something to discuss, because the subject is complex.

How does the desire for freedom of employees match the mistrust that many supervisors still have today vis-à-vis the lack of physical control? What happens to desks in offices when they are only occupied half the time or less? The individual workstation with potted plant and family photo could be a thing of the past if the trend is towards ‘office sharing’, as it likes to be euphemistically called, as if it is doing something good for the family. environment. And it is not yet clear how such “homelessness” in the office affects the work done there. Employees have the feeling of being moved from one place to another at will and ultimately to be completely interchangeable. This, in turn, could have an impact on the sense of belonging to the company and the willingness to perform.

The pandemic has already given a taste of the new ‘dehumanization’ of office workers: in digital conferencing, employees are just screen heads – there at the push of a button and back off at the push of a button. with a button. No more living counterpart, no more everything, no more physical presence, no more presence, just pixels everywhere. There is therefore an immense need for exchanges in companies, between employees and with employers. We are only at the very beginning of a new corporate culture (hopefully).

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