The usual office routine? I can no longer imagine that! Arrive at a permanent workplace at 8:00 a.m., full offices with sometimes corresponding noise levels and driving home in the evening? Although, in the past there was nothing bad about it. But the new flexibility of working from home and the office and using working hours flexibly (check here your options valid for your country) offers so much more than I could have imagined at first...
I remember back to the start of the pandemic, the lockdown and the forced work from home associated with it. My feelings were unsettled:
At the beginning I was grateful to be equipped in a way that working from home could go smoothly. Which was not new at least for us in Germany. But during the long, dark winter months I felt lonely - alone in front of my computer. Very lonely. We meet online with video, but I perceive personal contact very different. Different in the perception of words through gestures and facial expressions and in the exchange of unofficial information. I never would have guessed how much I would miss my colleagues in and outside of my team.
Some time has passed and I was allowed to help shape the global implementation of flexible working. And now? Now I work hybrid and also use the freedom of Flex Work. How does that work out? Well, it's different than before:
I drive to the office when…
I need a personal exchange on my projects with colleagues,
if I want to strengthen my network or
when the ceiling falls on my head at home.
I make an appointment with people I want to meet in advance, because the corridors have become much emptier and spontaneous meetings at the coffee machine are rather rare.
Or I meet for a lunch meeting outside of the business premises.
Why not, when it means half the distance for everyone?
In the team we found a common denominator to meet on-site while using the Flex Team Workshop created especially for this purpose, for those who like and can meet on-site. After all, we are a global team also other contacts are spread around the world, so we can't meet in person anyway.
I work at home when…
I want to concentrate on a topic. As an early bird, I now enjoy the flexibility to start work early, take a breath in between to go jogging. Sometimes I work half days on-site and from home. Without a guilty conscience about perceived fixed working hours. So, do I now have complete freedom? Well, I wouldn't go that far. After all, the calendar is full of appointments and they provide the framework. And I'm still looking for better ways to build new networks. Not entering my office @home in the evenings, even if another new idea flares up, is also a challenge. But honestly. All solvable.
What does the new options do with me? A walk in the fresh air before lunch gives me space for new ideas. Makes me more balanced, fitter, more attentive to my everyday work. I am more present for my son. And contrary to what I initially thought: the new form of targeted face-to-face meetings strengthens the previous network. All in all, that makes me more happy. Professionally and privately.
Honestly, after all, it's not about working hours, but getting the job done within a defined period of time, isn't it?