The End of Remote Work?

New working models enable to prevent conflicts between employers and staff from arising in the first place

27.02.2024 | Porsche Consulting – The Magazine

Many people find working from home so attractive that they would be happy if they only rarely had to return to the office. Executives and HR managers have been addressing these preferences, and will need to continue doing so in the future. But how, exactly? What makes sense here? Which models can managers use to retain their employees and how can they recruit new staff?

Zurich Group Germany has been successful with its new “FlexWork 2.0” model, which defines three categories that give employees different levels of flexibility in selecting their place of work. The “FixOffice” category requires its members to spend 100 percent of their contractual working time at fixed work stations on company premises. In the “HomeOffice” category, employees may work from home up to three days a week, and spend the other two days at the company. The “FlexOffice” category, which covers most of Zurich’s workforce, offers the greatest flexibility. Under “FlexOffice” rules, the place of work is secondary to the task. Dr. Carsten Schildknecht, CEO of Zurich Group Germany, describes his company’s intentions as follows: “FlexWork 2.0 is an expression of the high level of trust we place in our employees. We enable freedom in choosing work locations, yet we also make it clear that for us as a company, it’s important to ensure direct contact with customers and partners as well as interpersonal relations among co-workers and on teams.”

Zurich’s example shows that new guidelines on collaborative work also require new ways of thinking. According to Dr. Wolfgang Freibichler, Partner at Porsche Consulting, roles, tasks, and actions are changing for managers on all levels. Control has given way to coordination. The main task here is to steer — within the guardrails or guidelines that every company and every organization should be setting up within its models for collaboration.

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