About six months ago, the first German Corona infection was confirmed in Bavaria. Since then, a lot has happened: from lockdown, to a certain amount of shock, to an active handling of the pandemic. In the working world, the topic of home office in particular was often on the agenda. In our first self-test, we at ORCA van Loon also looked into what weeks of absence from the shared office space would do to our teamwork. The result at the time: many colleagues perceived the regulations as a challenge to their work but saw little change in collaboration and do not want to give up working from home in the long term.
The home office pioneers
The latter is also reflected in the results of various recent surveys. According to LogMeIn's GoTo study , 55.2 percent of Germans surveyed would like to work from home permanently. And 54 percent of employers surveyed by the ifo-Institute would also like to firmly establish the home office. The advantages of this have already been discussed and are obvious: Above all the employee saves time, the employer might have to invest a lot in technology that he wants to actually be used, but would save high rental and ancillary costs. Nevertheless, so far mostly only corporations announced drastic measures. Allianz , for example, expects to be able to reduce its office space by a third in the long term. The car manufacturer PSA and Twitter immediately announced "home office forever". But couldn't that also be something for small and medium-sized companies like us?
No desire for Twitter 2.0: Our results
We asked our colleagues in an internal, anonymous survey how they see the future of our office. We got surprisingly clear results:
No one wants to give up a shared office
40 percent would like to keep the office in its entirety
60 percent can imagine a reduction in office space
The majority would still like to have the option of having the flexibility to work from home
What we value most about a shared office space is the personal exchange and the bond with the team. The location and the working atmosphere have a neutral effect here. The most irrelevant factor for ORCAs: the size. The team was also relatively unanimous when it came to the suggestions and adjustments to the office and home office: the technical infrastructure should continue to be expanded efficiently so that it does not matter who is in the office and who is working from home. In general, lists, fixed days of attendance and similar things were also mentioned little or often dismissively.
This could be the future of the workplace in many small and medium-sized companies. Because wherever a manageable number of people work together, we have now learned that home office works beyond an exceptional arrangement. This is newly won freedom that won’t be eagerly given away again. The question is to what extent a win-win situation can be created for the employer as well - for example, through a reduced office space or lowered ancillary costs. At least everyone at ORCA van Loon agrees on one thing: It will be nice to see each other again, far away from Teams, Zoom and Co.