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Nach dem Weg in die Kita laufe ich eine Runde durch den Park und sitze dennoch pünktlich um 9.00 Uhr in meiner Telefonkonferenz. Und anstatt mich nach der Arbeit durch den Pendelverkehr zurück nach Hause zu schlagen, klappe ich den Laptop zu und genieße zwei Stunden mit der Familie.

Die Corona-Pandemie hat gezeigt, dass flexibles Arbeiten in viel größerem Ausmaß möglich ist als von Arbeitgeber:innen behauptet. Aber vor allem: Studien zeigen, dass die Zufriedenheit von Mitarbeiter:innen im Homeoffice während der Pandemie sogar gestiegen ist, trotz einer höheren Arbeitsbelastung.

Ein „Recht auf Homeoffice“ greift zu kurz

Trotzdem zögern viele Unternehmen, flexibles Arbeiten auch nach dem Ende der Pandemie…

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The year 2020 made many of us guinea pigs in a global “work from home” experiment. We have seen all the embarrassing episodes that were to be expected from barely dressed house mates zoom-bombing our team meetings to ministers doing TV interviews in their underwear (and some even more disturbing stories). And we have seen the downsides of working from home (especially under the conditions of nationwide lockdowns) such as isolation and stress.

But we have also seen that it is possible to run teams and even whole companies from our attic desk or our kitchen table — and some…

These articles, books and podcasts have kept me busy this week:

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Frank Eilers: Slaves of technology

WHAT IT SAYS: A Hays study 🌐 shows that while knowledge work became more digital, this does not automatically empower employees. Many report that new technologies are instead used to exercise more control.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: The pandemic shed a light on the huge emphasis of managerial control in the workplace. But to realise the potential of knowledge workers, a new corporate culture is needed that gives employees autonomy.

BUT WAIT … Eilers warns that reducing digital transformation to the introduction of new software leads to “digital Taylorism”…

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

A special edition on the mental health effects of WFH during lockdown:

NN: Now is the time to tackle the mental illness epidemic

WHAT IT SAYS: Lockdowns are taking a toll on the mental wellbeing of workers, compounded by bereavement, personal grief and the broader temptation to “doom-scroll” bad news streaming through social media.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: Enforced remote working has taught managers more about their employees’ family hinterland. They ought to have a new appreciation of the strains imposed on staff when close relatives fall ill.

BUT WAIT … I have long taken my mental health for given and only recently attempted to be more mindful. Sharing your state…

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These articles, books and podcasts have kept me busy this week:

Andrew Hill: Lockdown 2: a remote work how-to guide for leaders

WHAT IT SAYS: We need four Cs: clear communication, connection without constant video calls, collaboration (e.g. through cross-departmental “mini projects”), compassion and awareness of your team’s “emotional landscape”.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: The insights from lockdown 1 are not complicated. Leaders should have been using them already. Yet for some reason, many are still doing remote leadership wrong. Here is a second chance to get it right.

BUT WAIT … If you have confused remote leadership with eight hours of Zoom calls there is probably more going on than…

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These articles, books and podcasts have kept me busy this week:

The Economist Intelligence Unit: A new world of distributed work

WHAT IT SAYS: A survey of knowledge workers shows a smoother-than-expected transition to WFH but also various challenges. A post-covid middle ground could ultimately combine the best of both worlds.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: Some groups are faring far better than others (e.g. education workers and younger workers). Companies need support programmes that acknowledge the diverse experiences of their employees.

BUT WAIT … The survey was done in the US only, but still provides valuable insights for knowledge workers in general, I believe.

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These articles, books and podcasts have kept me busy this week:

Banks Benitez, Paul Collier: The data are in: Uncharted is moving to a 4-day workweek

WHAT IT SAYS: The social impact accelerator Uncharted moved to a permanent four-day work week after it reported steady performance and a decrease in work-related stress during a planned experiment.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: Remote work may have made the shift to a four-day week easier because of less distraction while working. And interestingly, the employees also reported higher satisfaction with life outside of work.

BUT WAIT … The data says that corporate culture was not negatively affected by the shift, but I’d be really curious to see more…

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… and how other companies are approaching the „the normal“.

Dropbox goes virtual first

If you have followed this publication for a while you know that I have argued 🌐 that even companies that adopt a „hybrid“ working model and give employees the option of working either remotely or in the office should adopt a „remote first“ mindset.

My employer Dropbox has done just that now. But rather than becoming a „hybrid“ company, we have announced that we would become „virtual first“ 🌐.

So what does that mean?

  • We have seen that many employees want to continue WFH but we found that going fully…

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These articles, books and podcasts have kept me busy this week:

Matt Clancy: Cities aren’t the innovation incubators they used to be

WHAT IT SAYS: The importance of local knowledge networks for innovation („serendipity“) is waning, because travel and online communication have facilitated the circulation of ideas across a much wider geographic domain.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: Fears about the impact of remote work on innovation are probably overblown. The flow of knowledge no longer requires us to be close enough for coffee.

BUT WAIT … Yes, researchers can now connect via collaboration tools with each other — but is there still not something (culture, exposure to new trends and other…

Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

My curated reading list has grown quite a bit already. To help you to dive deeper on any topic you are particularly interested in I have now added the section „Previously on The Remote Work Experiment“ which re-surfaces older articles I have referenced here.

On to this week’s edition:

Robin Harding: Cities are too resilient to be killed by Covid

WHAT IT SAYS: COVID-19 will not spell the end of the metropolis: by virtue of their density, large cities create productivity gains and space for learning and innovation that cannot be replicated through teleworking.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT: The existing web of corporate knowledge does not vanish during a few months…

The Remote Work Experiment

How the Future of Work Became Reality

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