Home office in difficult situations: Working efficiently and happily - 7 steps


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Exceptional situations like the Corona crisis require unusual measures. For example, that suddenly many jobs were moved to the home office, which was previously unthinkable. That poses Company and employees face major challenges.

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Michael Diaz Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Michael Diaz is a psychotherapeutic naturopath with a focus on interpersonal relationships.

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Suddenly in the home office: new agreements asked - 3 steps

No doubt, it will be a major change for employers and employees to move as many jobs as possible to their home office to avoid further contagion during the Corona crisis. Particularly important: In such exceptional situations, communication and cooperation between teams must be well structured.

In many Company Home office solutions in various forms are already the order of the day. For this reason, the appropriate equipment, from laptops or computers, including a good monitor and powerful Internet connection to secure central server access, has been in use for a long time, i.e. both tried and functional. It only has to be agreed here when and to what extent work will be done from home.

1. Labor law: agreement on a common solution

If the work in the home office is to be reintroduced due to the current exceptional situation, the employer cannot simply force it. Because he has no right to have the private living space of his employees.

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Conversely, there is no legal requirement for them to work in their own four walls. Both parties must first agree on a common solution and create all the necessary - technical and organizational - prerequisites for this.

2. How to stay up to date

In companies, colleagues don't just exchange ideas in meetings. A large part of the communication also takes place on the small official way, ie in the tea kitchen, at lunch or by chance encounters in the hallway. If teams work decentrally in the home office, the cooperation has to be reorganized and structured.

Regular video conferences, phone calls and chats help to keep each other up to date. The general rule for good cooperation in special circumstances is: rather communicate more and more often than too little and too little.

3. Clear documentation and structure

Some only feel comfortable when there is nothing but the bare essentials on their virtual desk or in their email inbox. Others look messy, but they can still find what they need. The situation is different when teams have to access a common system from their home office.

All processes now have to be documented particularly thoroughly and comprehensibly, filing clearly structured and documents have to be re-versioned with every change. Anything else creates inefficient confusion and errors.

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Home office as a challenge for employees - 4 steps

However, the home office is not only a great challenge for efficient cooperation, but also for the individual employees. For example, if children have to be supervised at the same time or if they are living alone - that is 41 percent of the population in Germany.

Nevertheless, the majority of them regularly spend time with other people in clubs as well as at sports activities, events or private meetings - and above all at the workplace. Sudden relocation to the home office is therefore a particular challenge for singles.

1. Communication and cohesion: virtual exchange in everyday work

Working with every colleague or manager is not easy. Nevertheless, the exchange among each other in everyday work looks like oil that lubricates a machine. Regular contacts with the rest of the workforce therefore remain important.

Via telephone, emails, Skype, video conference or chats, these are also possible in virtual ways. And not only with professional questions and topics, but also in other social relationships in order to remain part of a community.

2. Keep relationships alive

Anyone who is normally always around people at work knows how to appreciate being alone after work. Some even need radio silence to regenerate themselves. The situation is different if you work alone in the home office during the day and then don't see anyone afterwards.

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Regular contact with relatives, friends and acquaintances is particularly important in such phases. It doesn't always have to be long talks. WhatsApp greetings or other short messages also help to keep relationships alive.

3. Clear structure and fixed times

Get up, have breakfast, go to work: this rhythm gives working days a clear structure. This should also be kept in the home office. Otherwise there is a great risk of being distracted and wasting time.

Instead of staying in your pajamas, getting dressed in the morning acts as a start signal and is less tempting to laze around - just like having your own workplace, which ideally shouldn't be the kitchen table. Fixed times for the start and end of work reinforce the feeling of having done things within a given framework.

4. Variety for leisure

After a busy day away from work, relaxing afterwards on your sofa at home is your favorite pastime. When moving to the home office, more imagination is required to bring enough variety into your free time.

What can you do yourself good, for which you usually lack strength, desire and time? Taking the reins in your free time is a sign of self-efficacy. In psychology, it is considered an important personal resource and prevents both anxiety and depression.

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