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I’m Sonja and I’ve been the project manager for the “New Office Worlds” in Regensburg/Germany since 2016.
For me, working with people makes my job so exciting. Because it is very important that our employees get in touch with each other. In the team, the mutual exchange is already very successful. Where we still see potential is interdisciplinary communication. This added value, which can benefit different areas – even though they have little technical interaction – is usually only apparent later.
The new Office Worlds are excellent for getting to know colleagues from other departments and getting to know new perspectives, because the new concept is based on the so-called “activity-based working“. This means that you have many flexible choices, from where you can do what kind of work.
Each area can focus on its individual needs. In some areas concentration is important. Other areas focus on exchange and close cooperation in the project. Depending on your needs, office space is composed of conference and creative rooms, retreat facilities such as telephone boxes, temporary workstations and community areas. In three pilot areas, different solutions and possibilities were tested and evaluated at the site. Now it is a question of bringing the concept to the whole site.
The biggest challenge here is change management.
First of all, with the employee himself. This is about the questions “What world does the employee come from today?”, “What is changing for him in the new environment?” and “Where must he break up his routines not only in the day-to-day life, but also in familiar thought structures?” My three-headed team and I are coaches and role models for the New Work Style and gradually try to get an open mindset for network culture and the handling of new tools into the workforce. Leaders are also in need, because from the moment when everything seems to change for the employee – that is, he has to get out of the cell structure, into an open space area – it is important that executives also take an exemplary role, thereby supporting their employees in the process of change.
The full potential of the new working environment will be realized by the people who deal with the changes early on, and who will be able to take a stand for experimentation.