• Expert Tips

Home office 2.0:
Leading in Corona Year 2

  • Expert Tips

How can managers in the construc­tion and real estate indus­try bene­fit today from the learn­ings of one year of Coro­na? The compul­sion to have, to a large extent, work from home was initial­ly a shock, espe­cial­ly for the more tradi­tion­al sectors. In the mean­time, howev­er, a steep learn­ing curve has set in and many compa­nies come up with many creative ideas for the new terri­to­ry which is the home office. in our current Valdivia Expert Tip, wo would like to intro­duce some sugges­tions and ideas.

Social cohe­sion at a distance: shap­ing social togetherness

Coop­er­a­tion on projects and tech­ni­cal issues also require social close­ness. Until Coro­na, this level was a natur­al prereq­ui­site that came with every­day work. Since then, howev­er, tech­nol­o­gy and method­i­cal know-how have had to replace this factor. Some compa­nies have recog­nised this and devel­oped models for trans­fer­ring the social compo­nent of every­day office life to the home office. At fixed times, “coffee breaks”, “lunch­es” or “after-work lounges” are offered as join appoint­ments. The focus here is on person­al commu­ni­ca­tion – be it with the entire team or small­er groups, on the video confer­ence screen or in indi­vid­ual chats. Other ideas for virtu­al cohe­sion include a jour fixe, in which manage­ment or other respon­si­ble persons delib­er­ate­ly address projects and topics that are not current. A moder­a­tor can lead discus­sions or even mini-game shows. Or a speak­er presents compa­ny-specif­ic topics of inter­est in the way of a “train­ing light”. A joint fitness break or an enter­tain­ing inter­nal chal­lenge are also possible.

Trans­paren­cy and acces­si­bil­i­ty: replac­ing close­ness with communication

Increased commu­ni­ca­tion has proven to be an impor­tant success factor for home office manage­ment. Employ­ees want to under­stand what is happen­ing and also why it does. In the office, this is often discussed in a rather infor­mal way, e.g. at the coffee maker. Balance can be achieved by means of clear commu­ni­ca­tion: Pieces of Infor­ma­tion shared as well as respon­si­bil­i­ties should both be shared in a clear and trans­par­ent way. Addi­tion­al expla­na­tions as to reasons and goals prove to lift up self-moti­va­tion in the home office. Managers should also be easi­ly acces­si­ble and view queries as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to promote moti­va­tion and cohesion.

Unex­pect­ed savings: prof­it­ing from absence

In the mean­time, some compa­nies have begun to re-eval­u­ate the home office from an econom­ic point of view: instead of fixed work stations for each employ­ee, rooms and work­places are used in a more flex­i­ble manner. This means that office space can be reduced — or divid­ed up in a better, more effi­cient way where it used to be too cramped before. Finan­cial advan­tages are to be found when it comes to rent and usage costs. Sell­ing office equip­ment or sublet­ting as an open work­space can also help to compen­sate for loss­es or even open up new sources of income.