The past two years have been a crazy ride with lots of emotional ups and downs. COVID has dramatically changed our personal and business environment. Many of us felt cut off the rest of the world and isolated. It was however time to leave the cocoons and give it a try. A back-to-office try.
The term “back-to-office” may sound quite black-and-white, so let us elaborate a bit on that. It would be naïve to think that we could go back to the way things used to function before the pandemic. But… remote work cannot replace the office forever. Too many great ideas come up during spontaneous conversations or in-person collaborations. On the other hand, during the two years of social distancing, many employees managed to set up a comfortable remote work routine. DIALUNOX has recognized that well in advance and set up a cross-departmental team to plan a smooth return of its employees to the office without them feeling as if they were drafted.
We realized it would be a challenge to find a good balance in such heterogenous community as DIALUNOX. On the one hand, we have employees working at the production and repair site who simply can’t perform their tasks remotely. On the other hand, there are colleagues that can pretty much work from anywhere on the globe provided they are technically well-equipped with what they need.
Having conducted several employee surveys, we recognized a strong trend towards hybrid working – a blend of in-the-office and remote working. In order to maintain good collegial interaction, our current recommendation is to spend three days per week at the workplace. We left it up to departments and project groups to define which days of the week that should be.
I found it very exciting to test new ways of organizing my daily work – moving from one desk to another and sitting next to different colleagues. I would strongly recommend it to others that have not given up their desk yet, as it helps to fill in the gaps und stimulates the exchange of ideas. Let‘s see how things develop in the upcoming months…
(Florian Hofmann, Head of R&D)
So much for high-level stuff…It is also important to mention another reason, apart from employee well-being, why DIALUNOX has decided to pursue the concept of mobile working. During the two years of COVID, our company has grown by approximately 30%. Making ALL employees return to the office at the same time, would cause a massive space issue. We resolved that by asking each department to give up 20% of their workplace, which we turned into shared desks, available to all employees on a first-come-first-serve basis. The shared desks were respectively marked as such and received uniform technical equipment and stationery.
We also involved an architect who did some replanning of our facility, thus fulfilling the wish for more meeting rooms. Also not to forget IT specialists who made sure each employee who works remotely gets an add-on license for Microsoft Teams telephony.
As a newcomer to the company, I like to use different shared desks – it allows me to get to know different colleagues faster and sit with the right people depending on the focus of my workday. Now that I’ve assembled my touring bag of needed work tools, the frequent change is a welcome change!
(Tristan Wenk, Project Manager R&D)
So much for nitty-gritty…In order to foster a sense of strong DLX community after months of isolated workdays at home, we decided to throw a back-to-office party and invited employees to spend some time together.
Will the concept we’ve come up with be successful? We are just at the beginning of our journey and will find out more as we go. Time and our thoroughly thought out KPIs to measure the success of the back-to-office trial will show. We have the feeling though we are on the right way with this.