Insights out of the tested home office
We have been working with a home office structure for over 8 years and have now completely switched to it. We chose home office because this not only makes it possible to work from many different places, but also means a much larger employee potential and saves costs for an office. In addition, the employees have no travel, no traffic jams, etc. and more peace of mind, so that a significantly more concentrated work is possible. When working from home, it is important that the existing means of communication must overcome the hurdles of difficult communication. We would like to briefly share the experience that we have gained with the help of a few examples, ideas and tips.
First of all: Not every job can be done in the home office. There are many professions where contact with people is necessary, even existential or where stationary work is not possible. We are thankful for those people do these jobs every day. But wherever work is also feasible from home, this option should be used, since we can reduce the risk of infection in the current crisis.
Trust and understanding
You need internet connections, software programs, apps, legal precautions and only then can you start – and yet there is still enough to consider.
Everyone knows that the connection to the Internet fails sometimes. That will happen again and again and if everyone works from home, as expected more often … but we have to take things as they come. Yes, sometimes the kids run across the room and you can ask them not to, but kids are kids! That is part of it and you shouldn’t be disturbed by it. It is important, of course, that your boss or you as the boss does not do this either: understanding from all sides is very important, otherwise it will not work! It is the same with trust: there are people who sleep a little too long and cannot be reached in the morning, but then put in an extra shift in the evening. There are employees who are constantly distracted. But most people are fundamentally positive and that is what we should be built on. Home office is really not suitable for everyone in the long run, but many can handle it very well and as we all know: nothing is forever!
Some tips: get dressed as if you were going to the office, which makes many people feel better at work. Have a coffee or tea in another room if possible. Just get in touch with a colleague for a casual exchange, just like you usually meet at the coffee machine in the office. Creative ideas sometimes come from turning the washing machine on instead of looking at the monitor. If you need more rest, you might be able to use Noice-Canceling headphones.
Dealing with home office and not home office employees
When we initially had employees in both the home office and the office, there were two groups at some point: the homies and the offies. At that time there were always discussions, mainly because of different information levels. This is also very difficult to avoid: a brief hint between door and hinge in the office does not arrive in the home office unless you hang up cameras everywhere and everyone is connected live. However, you always have to consider whether you should briefly inform the home office staff about what has just been discussed. In addition, colleagues in the home office should also understand that you cannot communicate everything directly. So it challenges everyone and communication is key, as always.
Software and apps
For internal and external communication, we use Skype, in particular, in addition to the telephone and email standards. Even though there are sometimes connection problems, Skype has convinced us the most over the years because it is the most common. We also used Zoom, but the software is far from being as widespread as Skype. You can work very well with Jira for team tasks and ticketing. And for accounting we now use Datev Online, which also makes processing incoming and outgoing invoices faster, at least when invoices are sent paperless as PDF. There is also good scanning software for smartphones for scanning documents (e.g. Office Lens from Microsoft) if there is no scanner on site. And of course you have to be able to access a secure cloud. But there is now a huge selection, with data storage within Germany or the EU. And everyone knows that nothing works without a VPN.
We are certainly not the only company that works with the home office model as an alternative office and home work will not be the ideal solution for every company, but we would like to share some of our experiences with you!
On our own behalf
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