Without home office

 – modern work organisation remains a pipe dream

A Comment by Sridhar Iyengar, Head of Zoho Europe

The future of home office has become a political bone of contention. Yet, it would make far more sense to deal with it constructively and to use the many potential opportunities that lie in hybrid working models for all involved.

Trying to turn back the wheel of history rarely works. This also applies to the topic of home office. In the last 20 months, it has undergone an amazing metamorphosis from wallflower to shooting star. And now? The Ministry of Labour is currently planning a legal right to home office after the pandemic, reflecting an important lesson we can already learn from the hardship caused by the virus: It is impossible to imagine the work organisation of the future without the home office. Why? Quite simply: because hybrid models with their mix of face-to-face work, home office and mobile working offer a lot of opportunities and advantages to all parties involved. Employers can plan more flexibly, benefit from cost advantages, for example through the reduced need for expensive office space, and increase the general job satisfaction of their employees, because they in turn can coordinate their professional and private lives better, reduce annoying traffic jams and work more self-determined. What was that about win-win situations again?

By the way, we are deliberately speaking of hybrid models in the plural here because there is no such thing as a perfect “one-size-fits-all”. Well-meant is far from well done, even if the ingredients are known: Efficient work organisation requires the right infrastructure, the right equipment and any necessary new training, binding policies to meet IT security and compliance requirements, the right culture, and the further development of employees’ personal attitudes. This applies to the leadership qualities of supervisors as well as the self-organisation skills of team members.

A “roll-back” to old forms of work organisation is no longer up-to-date, because times have changed. Flexibility, agility and the attractiveness for employees – even those who are to become employees – are becoming important success parameters for more and more sectors. The rigid, presence-fixated work models of yesterday are definitely the wrong answer.

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