Blog Parade #remoteworks

After weeks of distributed cooperation it is time to draw a balance. This blog parade is itself an exercise in distributed asynchronous collaboration, a virtual retrospective to reflect on the opportunities and limitations of home office and remote work, in order to identify success factors and prevent us from falling back into the old rut.

The cur­rent cri­sis is also an oppor­tu­ni­ty. Dis­trib­uted col­lab­o­ra­tion from the home office instead of work­ing togeth­er in an open-plan office is sud­den­ly the stan­dard for many knowl­edge work­ers and may become the “New Nor­mal” after the cri­sis. Many things now work dif­fer­ent­ly, some worse, some per­haps sur­pris­ing­ly well and some even much bet­ter. In this respect, now is also a time to learn togeth­er and this blog parade #remote­works is the call to reflect togeth­er on the expe­ri­ences of the last weeks and months.

In many orga­ni­za­tions there is a dis­tinct cult of pres­ence. Home office and mobile work were of course pos­si­ble, but always the excep­tion and some­how sec­ond class work and not for real top per­form­ers. This atti­tude does not change overnight. Not all man­agers find it easy to lead from a dis­tance. But instead of pon­der­ing now whether employ­ees are doing their job prop­er­ly in the home office and how this could be con­trolled, one can turn one’s atten­tion to the pre­vi­ous­ly undis­cov­ered or unno­ticed tal­ents that they are devel­op­ing and using to cope with this excep­tion­al situation.

Many col­leagues are cur­rent­ly fac­ing incred­i­ble chal­lenges to some­how bal­ance fam­i­ly, school and work. I know this thanks to the great action of a col­league in our Enter­prise Social Net­work, with which Kai, under the mot­to #ShowMeY­ourHome­of­fice, called on oth­ers to show their own work­place in their home office, includ­ing the chal­lenges of work­ing from home. Since then I have learned an incred­i­ble amount of per­son­al infor­ma­tion about col­leagues. I have seen work­places at the kitchen table, in the tool cel­lar, in the attic, on the floor and in a tree house with WLAN, some­times tidy, some­times messy, most­ly impro­vised, with cats, dogs and many chil­dren. All of a sud­den, despite the dis­tance, our coop­er­a­tion has become much more human through these pictures.

Despite the phys­i­cal dis­tance, many peo­ple now meet with more empa­thy and atten­tion to the oth­er per­son. Meet­ings start by ask­ing with hon­est inter­est how col­leagues are doing today. And in the end, one wish­es for good health. We are (final­ly) learn­ing dig­i­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion also and espe­cial­ly beyond vir­tu­al meet­ings. The exchange in the Enter­prise Social Net­work has nev­er been faster and more help­ful. Now that the mutu­al exchange over cof­fee has been elim­i­nat­ed, dig­i­tal cof­fee kitchens are flour­ish­ing. And that is very good.

A cri­sis is a pro­duc­tive state. You sim­ply have to get rid of its after­taste of catastrophe.

Max Frisch

Neces­si­ty is the moth­er of inven­tion and even if it may not always feel that way at the moment, I basi­cal­ly agree with Max Frisch. Work­ing togeth­er at a dis­tance works sur­pris­ing­ly well in my per­cep­tion, hence the hash­tag #remote­works! But there’s even more to it beyond shift­ing our pre­vi­ous meet­ing cul­ture into vir­tu­al space. Or in line with what Thorsten Dirks, the for­mer CEO of Tele­fóni­ca Ger­many, said about dig­i­tal­iza­tion:

If you dig­i­tize a shit­ty meet­ing, then you have a shit­ty dig­i­tal meeting.

Dis­trib­uted col­lab­o­ra­tion also and first of all requires writ­ten and asyn­chro­nous com­mu­ni­ca­tion in Microsoft Teams, Slack, Con­flu­ence, JIRA, etc. In this sense, this blog parade #remote­works is also an exer­cise in dis­trib­uted asyn­chro­nous col­lab­o­ra­tion, a kind of vir­tu­al retrospective.

Your Contribution to the Blog Parade #remoteworks

These are my first thoughts to get you in the right mood for your con­tri­bu­tion to #remote­works. Oth­er pos­si­ble ques­tions could be the fol­low­ing ones, which you can use as inspi­ra­tion, but you don’t have to:

  • How does the dis­trib­uted coop­er­a­tion work?
  • What works well? What less well?
  • What would it take to become even better?
  • What do you miss the most? What don’t you miss at all?
  • What sur­prised you? What dis­ap­point­ed you?
  • How do you feel about the bal­ance between work and fam­i­ly in your home office? Is that bet­ter or worse?
  • What do you want to main­tain and expand after the crisis?
  • What do you want com­pa­nies to main­tain and expand?
  • What anti­quat­ed pat­terns from times before the cri­sis must we not fall back into under any circumstances?

Any­one who has his or her own blog can par­tic­i­pate in this blog parade. But those who don’t have a blog are also wel­come to pub­lish their arti­cle on LinkedIn, Medi­um or any oth­er plat­form gen­er­al­ly acces­si­ble on the Inter­net. It is impor­tant that you refer to this blog parade here in your arti­cle by link­ing to this page. Addi­tion­al­ly you should leave a short com­ment with the link to your arti­cle here, then I’m sure noth­ing will slip through.

The blog parade #remote­works lasts for one month until May 31st, 2020. Dur­ing this peri­od, I will grad­u­al­ly list all arti­cles of the blog parade here. After­wards I will sum­ma­rize the con­tri­bu­tions in a sep­a­rate article.

I am look­ing for­ward to many great contributions!


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