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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