The last weeks of December in 2020 have begun. We are once again confronted with restrictions that we already know from spring and yet feel completely caught off balance again. Preferably, a big fat check mark should already be made on this year in order to be able to fully concentrate on 2021.
The beginning of the year did not foreshadow anything. There were the usual upsets about new changes in the law that came into force on 01.01.2020, such as the receipt obligation. On the European side, the finally decided Brexit shocked. The world stage was shocked on the one hand by the devastating bush fires in Australia and on the other hand eagerly awaited the beginning primaries of the US presidential election. Only in passing did the first reports emerge of a new kind of disease that would ultimately be the cause of change in the lives of every single person in the world. But don't worry, we don't want to chase Google trends here, talk ramblingly about an unprecedented situation, or celebrate the now certain outcome of the U.S. election as a turnaround.
Rather, we want to embark on a journey. We invite anyone interested to join us in approaching this challenging year once again in an appreciative way. For there were moments, even experiences, that without this state we probably would not have experienced for many years. We would not be able to share them in the form that is possible today, because everyone would have experienced them with a time delay at an individual pace.
Now, at the latest, a large number of employees appreciate a good Internet connection in the living room or study at home in a completely different way. Because not only the quality of the series stream enriches, but also the sound and image quality in various video conferences facilitates participation. The stress level at the beginning, with all the technical challenges, has now almost been forgotten, because of the normality that has set in. Unforgotten, on the other hand, are the impressions of bookshelves, interiors or even the unflattering perspectives of a video stream below the colleague's nose. Glimpses that no one dared to dream of. Even the executives and bosses appear a little closer in their private work corner, at the kitchen table or -self-experienced- in a small rumble corner with little structured craft shelf in the background.
Even interruptions by the little ones in the household added to the amusement. Have you ever waved into your camera in an official meeting before?
For individual families, there were certainly moments, like in Loriot's Pappa ante Portas, in which the wife is startled because the husband is suddenly at home:
Renate: "What are you doing here?" - Heinrich: "I live here." - Renate: "But not now, at this time of night."
Share your experience with us and feel free to take part in our survey.
All these events could only happen because we were suddenly forced to move our workplace into our own walls. Only in the last few weeks we have taken a closer look at the topic of home office and remote work with regard to the effects in terms of employee retention.
With all the challenges that had to be overcome, the one thing that sticks in our mind is that we took a huge step when it comes to making work more flexible. How often do companies resist allowing large numbers of employees to work from home. Now this can no longer be explained away and in the future it will become more of a hygiene factor i.e. normality instead of a unique benefit. In addition to the stressful phases of homeschooling, many families were able to experience moments when they were given time together as a family that might never have existed in that form.
Looking back, what moments are you grateful for? What was your funniest home office experience?
The pandemic has hit the German economy hard. It brings to light what was already in a bad way and is becoming quite obvious in the current situation. Weakening business models are stumbling even more. The end is not yet in sight. In addition, companies that have existed on the market for decades are also finding themselves in difficult situations. For us, this is particularly noticeable in the aerospace industry. Stable customer relationships with Airbus or Lufthansa are no longer conceivable today. Tourism has come to an almost complete standstill and will not reach the level that prevailed before Corona in the near future. The shutdown of many areas of daily life has left its mark on many companies across all sectors. What can be positive about that?
We believe that this situation offers a real opportunity. Companies can show that they are working quickly, flexibly and innovatively on their own business models or on the company itself. Agility, which has often been hyped up in recent years, is exactly the mode that is needed now. Together with reflection on one's own actions, above all the will and the clear decision for transformation are crucial for success. Equally crucial is trust. In particular, trust in one's own employees. The desire for entrepreneurial thinking and action on the part of the workforce can now be fulfilled through genuine creative freedom. What else is needed? - Courage to jump over one's own shadow, out of the comfort zone and into the fear zone. Only this step makes it possible to move beyond existing fears into a doing zone. What lies at the end of doing? Experience, perhaps even innovations, but in any case we are triggering changes that German companies might not have had for the next decade without this external push.
We have now mastered most of the technical challenges with flying colors. Studies show that the satisfaction of German employees in the home office has increased.
We don't even want to go into further details about other effects, such as a step backward in the freedom we have fought for up to now by reducing hierarchy in the isolation of the home office. Because we see exactly here the starting point for enterprises on which we want to set up in the future a step to dare to arrange the office and the work organization anew. Companies are allowed to create spaces for creative exchange, team spirit and solidarity and at the same time keep satisfaction high through flexibilization.
We are therefore allowed to continue to show in the next year as human, close and private in the corporate context as we have already done this year unscheduled. That's why we're putting communication at the top of our agenda for 2021. On the one hand, it's a matter of reorganizing the exchange of ideas, and on the other hand, it's a matter of giving ourselves the time we need to stay mentally healthy while balancing family and career.
We would like to invite you to our January theme #cognitivehygiene.