Accenture, Google and Microsoft have been showing for years how a “borderless workplace” can work. In Germany, on the other hand, managers already have Problems with the virtual workplace, let alone global ones networks. It is above all the managers who stick to old ways of thinking and organizing how work is defined and organized.

Virtual workplace

Optimistic workers in terms of digitization

57 percent of employees in Europe expect digitization to improve their working conditions. This is the result of a large-scale survey by the management consultancy Accenture in 2015: "Being digital: Embrace the future of work and your people will embrace it with you". The study involved 2 workers and 500 Executives surveyed in the European Union.

Digitalization is on everyone's lips, but many employees fear that the managers in their Company While discussing a lot about technical upheavals without actually tackling them. While employees benefit from digitization for the Ability to innovate: (71 percent), agility: (69 percent) and Productivity: (68 percent) expect their company, only every fourth manager wants to make fundamental changes. And only one in five describes their company as digital. All others are on a hardly defined station on the “digital journey”.

Timid managers jeopardize Germany as a business location

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Almost every third company does not even consider adapting the business strategy of digitization. German companies are just ready to automate or adapt the existing processes. This may have been a fairly acceptable recipe in the past, but it is not enough today.

"Made in Germany": on the one hand by VW in a huge ethical imbalance, on the other hand Head and spirit under the covers: 70 percent of the German managers surveyed admitted that they did not play a pioneering role in the digital Transformation take over, but later want to take over mature digital models. One can only say: Quo vadis – DAX, Innovation and quality?

Fear of surveillance

The survey also takes into account the worries and fears of the Employees. Although only 8 percent fear a deterioration in their working environment, they are not yet sure whether there will be a loss of Team spirit will come when the colleague only works online and no longer in the Office comes.

According to the Accenture study, three out of four German employees are concerned or very concerned that their employer will use technology to monitor their every step in the future. Compared to other economies where the survey was also conducted, only the French have a bigger one Anxiety before surveillance by the Executive.

Mistrust in German management floors

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The virtual workspace as a sign of Weisure, the merging of Work/ Work and leisure/ Leisure creates distrust in German management floors. Because he shakes the foundations of the German performance culture and "properly structuring" Work organization:

There are also fears among colleagues that others Team-Members might prefer to sit in the sun. Most managers are unfortunately still convinced of the good, old culture of presence.

Daniel Cable, Professor in Organizational Management from London Business School, has found in studies that working from home can become a career killer for employees. Employees who are present in the office every day and are noticed by their supervisor are promoted significantly more often. Managers say homeworkers are less diligent and less dependable. Visibility thus pretends an alleged value of the results.

Our work organization dominates centuries-old patterns of thought

Thought patterns that have been firmly anchored in our heads for decades, even centuries: only “hard” work deserves the necessary work recognition and rewards. The promise: More performance, usually understood as measurably more good and hard work, brings more Success, more security and more growth.

One of the easiest measures of performance in industrySociety was previously the working time. Who present and under Control of the manager, also worked hard, was often paid purely by the hour. This culture of presence becomes a “culture of justification” when you are not available for the supervisor or at the workplace. Not just from Nine2Five, but best of all 24/7 these days.

Firmly anchored in the “stem brain” are sayings like “Ober sticht unter”, only “The morning hour catches the worm” or wacky jokes like “You’re probably on half a day’s vacation” when someone leaves the office at 18 p.m. All signs of a culture of mistrust, a lack of acceptance of diversity, ie different life and work models. But also signs of fear, because the previous performance structure gave us security, a klare Allocation of time, clear measurement criteria for performance, a clear career path from below “up into management”, – and a clear separation of work and leisure time, the latter above all freedom from the supervisor’s intervention in the privacy.

Compromise prevents progress

In many companies, therefore, a “compromiseSolution” Aimed for: One to two days of home office with normal core time, ie presence at the computer from 9 a.m. to 17 p.m., five days a week. workLife-Balance on the weekend. So actually everything stays the same, in thinking as in doing.

This can certainly be a relief. On a few days you save yourself the trip to the Company, the time in the S-Bahn or the Stress in the car. But in reality you don't even use a third of the advantages of a virtual workplace.

Employees can organize themselves best

In a culture of trust, it is assumed that the colleague, like employees as knowledge workers, knows best when, how and where he works best, by the way "for the benefit of both the team and the company".

A late riser organizes his day differently than an early riser, one Mother unlike a single with specific hobbies. This leads to greater life satisfaction. As a responsible team member, everyone knows when and in what quality they have to contribute their results, when team meetings take place online, for whom they should be available and when, especially in different time zones. Self-management paired with Projects– and team management lead to a qualitatively convincing result.

Flexibility brings greater work satisfaction

The advantage of a virtual workplace lies precisely in this flexibility. Everyone can interrupt their work, go shopping, go for a walk, go for a walk with the dog, play with the children in the park, and work at night, even at night. This flexibility reduces stress.

Breaks increase the productivity. It's not about the time at work - be it in the company building or at home, which has to be monitored, but about the focus on results, the belief and trust in the willingness and ability of the individual to perform, even without visibility.

Monitoring culture kills motivation

Why is there such a distrust in the willingness to perform? Why do most German employees seem to work without passion: According to Gallup, the Commitment Index in Germany since 2001 to 2014 unfortunately at an extremely modest level. Over the years, the percentages of employees with high loyalty to the company have not exceeded 16 percent, vary between 61 to 70 percent with low loyalty and even show a frightening picture of employees with 16 to 24 percent with no loyalty at all. And this with an almost universal presence culture.

Is this the reason for the skepticism of the executives about placing so little trust in their employees or is it rather a wrong approach to motivating employees? In the 2015 Gallup study, employees gave their German executives bad marks, especially with regard to Communication and exchange, precisely those skills that are so necessary in a networked project culture. 21 percent speak to their team only once a month, a further 21 percent even less. This means that almost 50 percent of the employees have no regular team agreements.

Silo and competitive thinking instead of agile, cross-linked cooperation

As a rule, the old conventional views dominate, Methods and processes in the mind. In its current study, the personnel service provider Hays shows that 72 percent of the decision-makers surveyed IT, finance, research and development see the insular and competitive thinking of the specialist departments as a barrier on the way to the digital organization. HR departments and even modern ones HR Software often still cement the old norms and Regulate.

There are still job descriptions with fixed rules Competencies, responsibilities, skills, abilities and targets that no longer meet the current fluid and networked requirements. Agreements and decisions can only be made within the departments according to the hierarchical levels - and even collegial communication beyond "divisional boundaries" is viewed with suspicion.

The area boundary marked the power and influence, the success of the individual manager and thus also his bonus system. Open use of virtual workplaces is usually not “regulated”. The simple fact that employees can work freely from time and place, and networked in partnership, does not occur in this way of thinking. So many managers fall back into the command and control thinking of the last millennium.

Stuck in old performance thinking

success in our Economy was previously synonymous with a relevant management position. High achievers are still lured into the promotion system with the Ascent on the career ladder, the promise more Income, power and Status to win. The "pure specialist career" as an expert has existed for a long time, but the managerial career is still the "crème de la crème", especially if you make it to the boardrooms of DAX companies.

Headhunter show that the career as a manager is still measured based on the span of leadership and depth of leadership, i.e. the number of hierarchically subordinate employees and the hierarchy levels. Which is no longer the case even with structures becoming flatter and flatter useful was, becomes absolutely obsolete with globally networked project and process structures. The "new" evaluation structures of young generations, for which power, influence and leadership position are not, have been completely forgotten Motivation represent more.

Up until now, a manager was “all the more powerful” the greater his budget responsibility. In the end, only his successes count Turnover and above all profit. Whether he achieves this with a partnership-motivating leadership is irrelevant. Nor did he consider values ​​and ethics. This only becomes relevant when a scandal like that at VW dies weakness of such a performance system and itself damages the shareholder value of the company.

Old success criteria are becoming less important

At a management event on Industry 4.0 this September, the managers present reacted just as cautiously. The discussions circled Technology and processes. A very small box considered HR. As decades before, it is repeatedly emphasized that "employees" should be sufficiently trained, this time in "digital skills" that structural change with a Change management program and the change readiness should be determined beforehand.

The digitization of HR administration, eLearning, Recruiting such as talent management is considered useful and is also partially implemented. A little tweaking of this or that technical adjustment screw and it is overlooked that this is about the development of a new performance and leadership culture that is shaped less by management and more by clients and employees. Less through announcements, specifications, announcements, but through listening, understanding, trust and Esteem.

Old success criteria lose theirs Significance: Not a hierarchical position of power, but expertise and the ability to collaborate are decisive in fluid, digital and globally networked work. Perhaps that is why managers are resisting digitization because they suspect that they will lose the security of their success, the security of their power and position - and they do not yet know how they can shape the future for themselves.

New thinking required for success, performance and management

With this rigid thinking of silo, competition and domination we are facing bad times in Germany in terms of leadership culture in the digital transformation. Unless we finally change the mindset, the thought patterns that have been imprinted over decades, even centuries, and are setting new standards for success, performance, and management.

Because virtual work is more productive, as Nicholas Bloom from Stanford University demonstrates. He sent call center employees to work from home for nine months and evaluated the results of their work. Compared to their time in the office, they showed a 13 percent increase in productivity. They were also less sick and much happier at work.


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