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!

Contributions

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