/ Reading: 4 min.

17. Mar.
/ Germany
More efficiency in the home office
In times of Corona, we all try to keep our social contacts to a minimum in order to contain further spread as much as possible. For us at ioki, this means that the health of everyone is our top priority, which is why we have made our weekly home office routine a daily routine.

However, the concept of home office is not only gaining momentum in our company: large corporations and small offices alike are currently introducing forms of new work almost everywhere. 

And while for some people working from home was already a matter of course even before Corona, others first have to completely restructure and adapt to their new working environment.

At ioki, we have been working according to flexible working time models since day one; home office has long been part of our weekly routine. We have learned that success is not dependent on presence and that a healthy home office arrangement lives above all from mutual trust. Everyone gives their best – whether in an open-plan office in the heart of Frankfurt, at their home desk somewhere in the Rhine-Main area or even beyond.

Just as every home office workplace is unique, so are the working methods and requirements. After all, everyone has to find the best routines, structures and processes for themselves. Nevertheless, after several years of weekly home offices, we have gained important experience which we would like to share with you as little food for thought and tips.

1. Morning routine

Let’s start with something easy, but decisive: routines help us in the office every day to solve complex tasks. In the home office it is no different. On the contrary, here even more routine can help to separate the perception of one’s own four walls from that of a workplace and to set off on the way to work – at least mentally. The morning bathroom routine, consciously drinking coffee before starting work or the usual business or at least everyday clothes can help to prepare oneself mentally for the coming hours at work and to distinguish one’s own roles as a private person and as an employee. 

2. Fixed workplace

By the way: Not only yourself, should be «ready for work» – also the workplace in the home office plays an important role. Of course, the couch is tempting at first glance, but as a practical workplace for several hours it is only suitable to a limited extent. So the best thing is to create a workplace that is as close as possible to the one in the office and thus offers as little distraction as possible. 

3. Structure

So now we’ve done it: Mentally, we’ve prepared ourselves for work during our morning routine and everything is neatly laid out at our home office. A structure for the day or even for the week ahead can help to better organize the tasks at hand and set clear hourly or daily goals. By the way, various time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro technique, can also be of additional help here. 

And what gives better structure than breaks? Right, hardly anything. So please don’t take false pride, nobody works eight hours in a row with high concentration. Short breaks after completed to do’s and a consciously perceived lunch break help to organize the day. 

4. Virtual teams

In times of digitsation, almost nothing is impossible anymore. And so – with good preparation and the right technology – today basically all appointments can also be held virtually. Whether it’s a long-planned workshop, a weekly team meeting or just a short daily routine – thanks to tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business or Slack, we can get colleagues virtually into our home office without having to leave the door. 

By the way: Sometimes more is really more. Especially when you can’t even quickly call up a question or input over the desk, more communication is really helpful. An exciting format, which has proven itself especially in the agile working world and which is not only useful in the home office, are so-called daily meetings. Here, all colleagues – virtually or personally – come together briefly every day to exchange and coordinate their daily to do’s and to jointly cushion acute stumbling blocks in the team. 

5. Personal contact

Yes, even if we are talking about virtual teams, personal contact should not be neglected even in times of home office. After all, it is the exchange with colleagues that holds our working world together at its core. And so it really does make sense, especially in longer home office phases, to replace the odd phone call with a video call. Non-verbal signs such as gestures and facial expressions, which are often lost on the phone, can thus be sent or received from the desk at home.

With this in mind, we wish you all a successful time in your home office, lots of fun trying out the odd tip or two, and above all one thing: Stay healthy and stay home!

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Silke Höhl is a PhD student at the Research Lab for Urban Transport (ReLUT) at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. The construction and industrial engineer won the «Best Idea 2019» competition at the Allianz Pro Schiene Innovation Award 2019. Her concept: an innovative parcel delivery service. Hereby, the idea is not to create a new transport infrastructure, but to use public transport that is already well developed in the cities. The idea: underground and tramways take care of transporting the parcels to the city centres and a load wheel takes care of the last few kilometres to the front door.

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