Home Office vs. Office Communications: 9 Tips for Productive Collaboration


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IBM was 1980 pioneer, for a long time it was common: Working in the home office. But then the cut: After over 25 years rowing that Company back, along with many others. Employees should work in the office again, shoulder to shoulder. For many workers annoying, for our everyday communication but a big plus.

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Stefan Häseli Stefan Häseli Portrait 1_quadrStefan Häseli is an advisor for organizational development.

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Advantages of the Home Office

Actually, the home office was and is a good idea. No long journeys, no congested roads or crowded public transport more. Instead, work where you feel comfortable. In between, pick up the children from school, cook the lunch or visit the sick mother-in-law, no problem.

As long as the work is done conscientiously. But you can set guidelines for this and agree on times in which one can be reached by colleagues and supervisors. And yet, one thing is left behind: Everyday communication in the office.

The end of the Home Office: Social contacts for more creativity are missing

Ideally, an inspiring cooperation, lively exchange of ideas and a cheerful environment shape everyday office life - and make a significant contribution to creativity. Of course, this cannot be the case at home on the sofa or in the small home office. Even everyday phone calls or Skype conferences don't make up for that. The motto is: Back to the roots - back to communication.

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Because we humans need social contacts, a noticeable recognition and appreciation as well as a certain connection to the company. Meanwhile, managers quickly lose track of what their own employees are doing at home. This is where trust comes in. However, many companies think control is the better option ...

Quality-Time: Communication is not the same as communication

The fact that many companies want to see their employees back in the office is also due to the inevitable trend of agility. Agile work is gaining more and more popularity and is now synonymous with a team-based approach. Away from the lone fighters in their individual offices, to collaboration and teamwork.

Agile teams work together in a cross-functional and interdisciplinary way, which can also function ideally due to their proximity. Decisions are made faster, there is transparency and knowledge sharing. Constant feedbacks constantly improve the work. And the improved communication.

Office communication differs significantly in digital communication

Everyday communication in the office is essentially different from e-mail, telephone or Skype calls. In the "classical" personal conversation we are automatically much more emotional, spontaneous and careless. Our language varies depending on who we are in dialogue with and in what role we are. And: we have to be always present.

This means that we focus on the moment, take the conversation partner seriously, and really care about each other's problems. That works best face to face. No e-mail and no (Skype) phone call replace the personal conversation in which we see our counterpart, even without digital helpers look him in the eye and interpret by his body language, if we can trust him.

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Remote work or office work: the mix is ​​what matters

But does that mean the end of the Home Office? Of course, there is not just black and white in this debate. Not just home office and office work only. For a few days home office can be quite conducive to the work, then spend a few days in the office with colleagues and work effectively in a team.

This change of office communication and quiet individual work in a feel-good environment could be the perfect compromise for many. For agile teams, personal responsibility is a key keyword. Therefore, employees should be able to decide for themselves when teamwork and when working in the home office Sense do. A win-win situation - for companies and employees.

9 tips for the productive change between home office and office

What should we pay attention to, so that this change between home office and team work in the office works smoothly? And what should home office workers pay particular attention to if they want to work productively. 9 tips.

  1. The noise level must be right: Both in the home office and in the office: Everyone should have the background noise level that he needs. Some work better with a certain level of noise in the background, others need music, others absolute quiet. That depends on the respective concentration level, which ideally should not be imposed by external circumstances. That's why everyone likes it.
  2. Personal meetings have to be: As already mentioned, it is sometimes essential to talk to colleagues personally - both professionally and personally. This should be possible. Here, for example, coworking spaces can also be a solution
  3. Don't blur borders - office remains office: If possible, the boundaries between work and free time should be separated in the home office as much as possible. Therefore, the home office should look like an office - and not like a bedroom or dressing room with PC and printer. Psychologically, it is better if you do not constantly target bed and sofa.
  4. The right working atmosphere: In addition, minimalism helps, because a crowded office causes unrest and offers too many distractions. So regular mucking and tidying is announced. Everything you do not need every day is stowed - or disposed of immediately. At the same time you should pay attention to the right lighting, back-friendly seating and plants for the right room climate.
  5. Keep an eye on goals: It is important to have a productive basic mood: Perhaps it helps to visualize your own in order to motivate yourself, for example on the next trip, the house, the car - or simply the desire to create something productive. It is important to have an appropriate motivator.
  6. Occupational Clothing: Which also helps to create a work atmosphere in the home office: getting up early in the morning, taking a shower, getting dressed - when you go to the office.
  7. Follow a fixed daily schedule: There are also many distractions in the home office. To break away from it and to put the brain in a productive mood, it helps to follow a fixed daily schedule. For example, first eMail check and answer immediately. Then move on to the first task and carry it out with concentration. Turn off all tones on your computer and mobile phone so that you are not disturbed by incoming messages. From Facebook log out, set Skype to “do not disturb”. And then do the job.
  8. Benefit phases: Every person has different phases in which he can work better or worse. Some are already fit at work in the morning at 5, others prefer to work until late in the evening. Metabolism, organ activity and the ability to concentrate change considerably during a day. Those who know their own type can significantly improve their own creativity and productivity. This is also the biggest advantage of the home office: You can divide your work independently and, for example, perform difficult tasks in the high phases.
  9. Get out in the fresh air: Another great advantage is the opportunity to go out and get some fresh air and new ideas while at work - even if you only walk for lunch or to the next cafe or have an ice cream in the sun. Or you can take your work with you. After a short or long absence from the office, you also like to go back.

Conclusion: home office vs. Office - everyone has to find the way of working that is most productive

Despite all the tips: the most important thing at the end of the day is that everyone at work is as happy and motivated as it gets. And that you never stop making your work environment even better and more beautiful. It also means creating the ideal place for exchange and communication.

Besides, it's all about the fact that every company should trust its employees: that they find and use for themselves the working method and environment in which both their productivity and their well-being are greatest. Only then can all benefit from it.

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