Mobile Working – New Normality?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, mobile working and home office has been one of the most discussed topics in the world of work; Corona, there is little doubt, has clearly become the driver of digitalization. In some cases, companies have very abruptly switched to mobile working in order to limit contacts and contain the virus. Is mobile working or home office about to become the new normal?
Sleeping an extra hour in the morning because you save yourself a trip to work – how often did employees wish for that before the pandemic, when they didn’t yet have the option of working from home? A wish that suddenly became reality last year. With the laptop under their arm, they went to the office within their own four walls. Many employees had to set up their workstations there – sometimes provisionally. Comfortably going into a meeting in sweatpants, since you can’t see your legs in the digital meeting, is certainly an advantage we all appreciate. And the small tasks that can be completed before, after or even once in between working hours are also part of the new flexibility: briefly turning on a machine of laundry during the lunch break or being at home when a package is delivered – how nice working in your own four walls can be. For strong concentration phases, working at home is ideal – at least if you’re still single or have your own study.
The workspace – the new diversity
Above and beyond that, mobile working also offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to where you work. Working from home is easily possible, and the term home is very malleable in this context. One of the great advantages is being able to see your family for longer periods of time or to personally support family members in need of care. At the same time, it is possible to continue to do productive work, since one is not tied to any location. Provided, of course, in each case that one is infection-free.
Not all that glitters is gold
But: All that glitters is not gold. What we noticed there on the team last year? A screen cannot replace face-to-face contacts. Yes, we would hardly have thought it, but we miss our colleagues, who can sometimes drive us up the wall in the open-plan office, because people are talking too loudly on the phone or hitting the keys. Strolling down the corridor together or talking about the latest projects during the coffee break is unfortunately almost completely lost in the course of mobile working. And that’s not all: At home, the boundaries between work and leisure are becoming blurred. Especially for the project jugglers among us who, in addition to the household, also manage a job, homeschooling or childcare in general. For many, it helps to wrap up the workday and wind down on the way home after work – whether on foot, on a bike, on a train or in a car. At home, these boundaries blur, as you’re already home by the end of the workday.
The best of both worlds
So where do we go from here? First and foremost, we hope that together we can get through this pandemic and stay healthy. For the future, it remains to be seen how the topics of mobile working and home office will develop. Because one thing is clear: both working at home and in the office offer plenty of advantages and disadvantages. The pandemic has shown: Mobile working can work well, however, we are all happy when we can meet our colleagues and our customers in person and live again. The optimal thing would be to combine both positions, allowing a mix of presence and mobile working – in fact, the best of both worlds.