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The Home Office as Great Place to Work

A Great Place to Work® is a place where employees of all generations can develop personally and professionally, where people trust and support each other, where people are proud of their work and where working with colleagues is fun. This is also possible in the home office - under the right conditions.

Cooperation and cohesion

Give your employees even more opportunities to collaborate with other employees. Make sure that social contact does not break down, especially in these times. Continue to hold regular team meetings and intensify your communication measures so that nobody feels isolated, but rather a feeling of virtual cohesion is created. Whenever possible, use video instead of just sound. This makes the conversations more personal and the mood of the employees (both positive and negative) is easier to grasp.

Trust instead of control mode

Switching to working remotely is a major change - and usually it is greater for managers than for employees. Because when everyone is in the same room, it's easier to lead your team. However, this must not lead to managers falling into a control mode and trying to control employees by regularly asking them for their status via e-mail and telephone. It is much better if managers demonstrate confidence in their employees and replace control - which is in any case only subjective - with collaboration mechanisms - for example, by setting short-term goals or implementing projects.

Overwork as a risk

The clichéd assumption is that home office employees are lazy and instead of working they do the laundry and mow the lawn. But the danger is rather that employees can no longer switch off when the structure with commuting to work, coffee and lunch breaks and small talk no longer exists.

They skip lunch, never put their laptop away and work around the clock - there is plenty to do, especially when organizations are in crisis mode. Ask regularly and pay attention to the working hours. Create structures, for example by ending the day with a short check-in meeting.

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The right equipment for home office

Actively ask whether the employees have the necessary tools and equipment to do their work well from home. Distribute online vouchers from electronics retailers or relax your expense regulations so that employees can easily order missing equipment (e.g. headset, webcam).

Support and good practices

Don't assume that all employees will simply have the tools they need for a successful home office. Especially if, due to the situation, you have only recently set up the appropriate tools and platforms in a hurry, many people will be overwhelmed. Actively ask if the employees need support. Offer training and documentation. Make it easy for employees to contact support directly in the event of difficulties. Also try to share good practices from other employees with similar challenges - often many face the same problems.

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Understanding and virtual backslapping

Also communicate that you are aware that many employees are now challenged by childcare, sick relatives and other difficulties. Show understanding that employees may not perform at exactly the same level. Find ways for a virtual pat on the back at all levels when employees show special commitment.

The abrupt move to the home office can also be seen as an experiment and opportunity for more agility in your organisation. But don't forget that a trust-based workplace culture must also be maintained virtually.

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