The journey from working from home to the "New Normal"
The corona pandemic has forced most companies to work from home. For some, the transition has been easy as remote working and collaborative technologies are already integral to their work culture. Others had to change over the day. But what happens after the jump to the home office? How do employees now start their return journey? How do you achieve maximum productivity in collaboration in the "New Normal"?
Stage 1: Quick start into digital collaboration?
At Fellowmind, we have been helping companies set up a digital workplace for over 15 years. Triggered by the pandemic, numerous companies were forced to rely on modern collaboration technologies quickly. During this time, many existing and new customers approached us with a whole bunch of questions. With our TEAMS Quick Start method, we succeeded in developing a way that addresses the most urgent questions and allows all employees to communicate and act quickly in the home office.
Stage 2: What comes after the home office?
The first "attempts" have been successful. Everyone is in the home office, but above all: They have arrived in the world of digital collaboration! And now? Now it's time to unpack the bag and explore new territory.
Arrive: Due to the rapid entry into the new technologies, there was little time to deal with the latest communication options in peace. Many employees were overwhelmed, mainly because of personal burdens such as homeschooling. But not only privately but also professionally, it was about more than just internal communication. Project management, customer service, new acquisitions, events, and conferences - everything had to be switched to "online."
As consulting specialists, we naturally know how vital change management is. After all, the new technologies should gain a foothold in the long term and promote cultural change in the digital world of work.
Unpack bag: The times past have not been a beach holiday but a real educational journey. There was something new to discover every day, and there was hardly any time to unpack the bag. Great tools and aids are waiting in the luggage for use. That is what the second stage of the journey is all about. The basis of the cooperation worked. Regular video conferences have helped to maintain contact and exchange routines with colleagues.
But to further increase productivity and to be able to use what has been worked out sustainably, companies need an excellent publishing concept. "Places" are defined where information, essential documents, and knowledge are bundled centrally and, above all, can be found quickly. In addition, other relevant functions for the respective job roles can now be gradually acquainted with and established.
Explore new territory: A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT from April 1, 2020, showed that 80 percent of those surveyed are satisfied with their home office work. The participants largely assess their own productivity and work performance as positive. This is why it is an essential component for satisfaction, as well as well-functioning, smooth and task-related communication, even if the social and professional exchange and the solidarity in the team in the home office were rated worse in general.
In any case, it is interesting that employee satisfaction is strongly linked to the desire for productivity, but employers often fear a loss of productivity through working from home. To develop further digitally,
Stage 3. Feel at home in the digital world!
The discussions, whether a home office is a yes or no, with legal entitlement, or the question "how do I get my employees back to the office?" has little to do with a digital understanding. The focus is actually only on one question: Has digital collaboration really arrived in the company?
Suppose the employees feel at home in the digital world. In that case, it simply doesn't matter whether they work in the office, in the home office, on-site at the customer's, or in the beach bar - the main thing is that the productivity is right. The development potential is not limited either by a lack of technology or by personal factors barriers slow down. The next question would then be: How can I increase productivity in the team and react agilely?