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Active Participant

Originally authored by Kathrin Kapp


Thankfully, the time clock is not dominating our work life in SAP as it is dominating the picture above. We don’t need to clock in and out to document our working time. We operate on trust, and no one is keeping track of when we start, go home, exercise or keep a private appointment. Employees structure their working time as they see fit, considering operational requirements. They assume responsibility for stipulating the start and end of working time, as well as the scheduling and duration of breaks and other work interruptions. As the annual SAP employee survey has shown, this flexibility is seen as a key benefit and is very much appreciated. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what people in the unit of the SAP Chief Technology Officer and President of the SAP Cloud Platform say:

Sonika Kachroo, Development Manager from Bangalore, sees a win-win for employees and employer. She said “I have observed that SAP’s work-time flexibility results in higher engagement and productivity as people are more in control of their work and personal time and thus, they are more empowered and committed and don’t leave their job behind based on the ticking of the clock. Rather, as flexibility provides them more control, they feel trusted and valued and their investment in work and organization grows”.

Stefanie Schmitt, User Assistant Manager in Walldorf, agrees to Sonika’s statement and adds: “As long as you do your job and deliver on what you promised, no one asks how you organize your day. This is not purely altruistic, though. It also helps SAP a great deal because if I need to be flexible for my job - there might be an important late-night meeting or something urgent outside of my normal working hours - I’m more than happy to do that. That’s because I know that when I need it, SAP allows me this flexibility in return. For me, this is a classic win-win situation and something that many of my friends in more traditional manufacturing companies envy a great deal. Jeremy Good, Product Manager in Newtown Square, underlines this quote. He says: “My wife, who is a school teacher, manages our family Google calendar, and although her working day ends much earlier in the day than mine, her ability to leave the school during the day is virtually non-existent without taking personal time off, so when we absolutely need to have an appointment during the school day, I can work it into my schedule.” Christian Mahr, Senior Developer in Walldorf, stresses the positive impact this flexibility has on his private life: “As a father of two school girls I took the opportunity of using flexible working time to enable my partner to re-enter work and utilize her comprehensive education. This demands a little effort from many sides including a bit more openness and trust, focus and organisation, but in the end, it was beneficial for me, my family and SAP. I’m sure many colleagues can benefit from this flexibility”.

For Sheila Zelinger, Head of Business Operations, of one of our software units in Palo Alto, the flexibility SAP offers in working hours and locations is one of the greatest advantages for colleagues. “I have people on my team and in our overall business unit who do not live near the office. And many people take early morning or evening phone calls with other regions from home. Flexible in-office schedules to accommodate these types of situations not only reduces stress, but leads to higher work satisfaction and morale.”

Besides the working-time flexibility, colleagues also value the opportunity to reduce working time. Sven Gierse, UserAssistance Manager in Walldorf, is currently working part-time. He says: “I’m at 90%, which means that I have a day off every other week. It’s great because I can do all my errands that day and spend the entire weekend with my family. And if the job requires my presence, I can easily shift to another day. The freedom to adapt the working time to your own individual needs is something I wouldn’t want to miss and is definitely a great benefit SAP offers.

New recruits to SAP are also positive about SAP’s working time model. Steeven Zeiss, Daniel Gerecht, Matthias Klinger and Niclas Moldenhauer joined SAP in Walldorf after finishing their studies nearly two years ago. “Coming to SAP directly from university where students are used to being extremely flexible with their time, we were surprised to see that it is possible to maintain this flexibility. The plumber is scheduled to fix something? No problem, you go to work later and just stay longer or even work from your home. At the same time, it is incredibly relieving that you never have to work just to “fill up your hours”. Sometimes you are done with your work and neither SAP nor you would benefit from staying longer. Other times you really want to finish something and you stay longer. When we end each working day, is in our individual responsibility. That can be a challenge for some people, but if handled right, it feels good to know that our manager trusts us and does not care about when we do our work but rather that we do it well. What is also great about SAP is that we can take a break if our head is smoking and go for a walk, play a table kicker game with colleagues or go to the gym. After such a break, we feel energized and are much more productive.”

And Edgar Lott, Chief Development Architect in Walldorf with nearly 30 years of experience confirms that this openness and trust on working hours is not a new trend but was a consistent component of his entire employment with SAP.

These are of course only a few voices from our unit. So, don’t take our word for it. Apply for one of our open positions and experience the flexibility of our trust-based working model yourself.

Please see the pictures of the colleagues in the order of their statements (Christian Mahr excluded):


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