Flexible work between freedom and identity: Right to Home Office?


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Should there be a right to home office? Parts of the Christian Democrats say yes. But it is not enough with a cell phone and laptop. Employers should pay attention to a number of factors before releasing their employees into “freedom”. Above all, a well-thought-out strategy is required.

Flexible working - when the office can be practically anywhere

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Olaf Kempin univative Olaf KempinOlaf Kempin is founder and co-owner of univativ. 

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New technologies open up new possibilities

Laptops, smartphones, fast Internet - modern technologies open up new possibilities to organize life, and also work. This is why employees are increasingly demanding that the job adapts to their lives, not vice versa, both spatially and temporally. Home Office, Sabbatical, flexible working hours are often expressed desires.

But many executives fear losing control. Giving one employee liberties and the other does not create the envy and disgrace is another fear. Therefore, they shift the change. This is dangerous, however, as employees are increasingly expecting companies and executives to come to terms with their desires.

Right to Home Office?

Where the economy hesitates, politics now wants to intervene. The Christian Democratic Workers' Union (CDA) recently demanded that the German Working Time Act be extended to include a right to Home Office, just as the Netherlands has already done. In some companies, this has long been a reality and part of corporate culture. Many German companies are faced with huge changes.

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Markus Klups, strategy consultant and CEO of the future agents, sees this proposal positively: “The models for working time and place will be different in the future than today, project-based working will increase significantly. Germany's importance as a production location is shrinking, so knowledge work is becoming increasingly important for us. And this will no longer be tied to time and space. Innovations cannot be forced into the rigid corset of traditional patterns. Companies have to act faster, more flexibly and more innovatively to keep pace with development. The topic of flexible work design is directly related to this. ”

Respect personal life designs

Far-reaching changes in corporate management, however, require a well-thought-out strategy, on the basis of which individual measures are checked and implemented. What does it do, what is the risk? Markus Klups explains: “The digitization of the working world goes far beyond handing smartphones and laptops to employees and describing this as flexible working. It is important to respond to the requirements of the company and the personal life plans of the employees. A successful change process first requires a future-proof framework before the next step is to adapt the work environment to the individual needs of the employees. ”

A statutory home office regulation would also mean that significantly fewer employees are on-site in the companies. The more flexible and individual the work is designed, the more difficult it is to build and maintain a culture of identification in the company. Business culture is essentially the way people deal with each other, and this often happens in the middle of the day - eating lunch together or making coffee breaks, exchanging information about the private. The management personnel of a company also play a central role. But they must also be tangible. If employees are spatially distributed, it is more difficult to maintain a corresponding corporate culture.

Success Factors Trust and transparency

“When it comes to flexible work arrangements, care must be taken to combine the greatest possible freedom with physical presence and maximum exchange. This requires orientation aids. Otherwise, the company may disintegrate into a loose group of people interacting in a situation that hardly combines anything, ”says Markus Klups in a nutshell. That calls for a completely new management style. "In the future, managers will be measured less by their professional qualifications," he predicts. "Instead, your task will be to form a team from a 'buzzing togetherness', to bind it and thus to shape the culture."

Finally, executives will be responsible for creating trust and transparency. Transparency is particularly important when different employee options are used differently. For an employee in marketing it is easier to do his home office tasks than for someone in research or product development. To justify these differences is important for a trusting business climate and is one of the tasks of leadership.

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Hercules task for management

At the same time, objectivity should be guaranteed. Decisions on working models must always be comprehensible for the persons concerned. If employees have the impression that privileges are distributed according to gusto or even sympathy, this leads to dissatisfaction and a bad climate.

All this shows: The control of modern work models is an extremely demanding management task, almost one could speak of a Hercules task. Corresponding initiatives up to New Work structures should therefore be anchored in the management of the company and be consistent with strategic objectives. The impetus from politics makes it clear that companies can not escape this discussion. Whoever anticipates change so bravely can benefit from it.


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  1. Walker Roland

    Is there a right to home office? - Exciting contributionLkZRN3pPcr

  2. Alexander Haberkorn

    Home Office: Only with laptop and smartphone is not done. Employers have to adapt to this.
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  3. Alexander Haberkorn

    The Netherlands did it. How long does Germany need to do this? - Highly recommended ra7oIOYAeS

  4. future agents

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