The employees of the telecommunications provider Vodafone Germany can generally determine from October 1st in consultation with their superiors whether and how often they want to work in the home office or in the office. The “Full Flex Office” also allows employees to work up to 20 days a year in other EU countries – sometimes sunny job prospects. But not all employees can benefit from this regulation: Those who deal with customers, such as in the shops, are left out.
The new flexible working model should not only apply during the ongoing Corona period, but should also be maintained after the pandemic has been overcome, emerges from a communication from Vodafone on Tuesday. Vodafone emphasizes that this regulation was developed and decided “in close collaboration” with the management and works councils. Employee surveys had previously been carried out. The results showed that employees would like more flexibility at work in order to be able to better combine professional and private life.
From this, Vodafone has come to the conclusion that the attendance rate in all Vodafone companies in Germany will be eliminated. In concrete terms, this means that in future employees will be able to flexibly decide where they want to work: at home, in the office or for a maximum of 20 days a year in other EU countries. All that is required is coordination with the team management, special requests do not have to be made.
Meeting point office
However, the place of work specified in the employment contract will remain, according to the statement from Vodafone Germany. Obviously, the aim is to keep the teams open when necessary, because – and this is what Vodafone emphasizes – personal exchange between colleagues remains an important part of the corporate culture. But offices would increasingly develop into places of collaboration, inspiration and creativity.
This also means that there will be fewer offices with individual desks. The conversion to office space as creative meeting points and desk sharing has already begun at some locations, including Kerpen and Frankfurt. Others are to follow, as in Düsseldorf and Ratingen. In principle, however, team spirit is not tied to one location, said Hannes Ametsreiter, head of Vodafone Germany. Rather, this is “tied to an attitude”.
For employees who want to work from home, Vodafone donates a kind of all-round carefree package: The home office is “well equipped” with the ergonomic furniture, computers and software necessary for work. The Internet connection for the home office is paid for by Vodafone. Insurance is also provided, because global accident insurance applies around the clock, seven days a week. A fitness offer for employees and up to two family members is also part of the full flex office concept.
Remote management of employees
The hybrid collaboration in offices and in the home office is a challenge for team leaders and employees. Vodafone wants to offer training for senior executives. They are to be trained in leadership in flexible working for a year. This also includes the communication between those present in the office and those in the home office. Appropriate collaboration tools should be used here.
A possible loneliness and the excessive self-exploitation that critics of the home office and mobile working repeatedly put forward, wants to counter Vodafone with the #beindtoyourself program, among other things, through lectures and training. Independent mindfulness is instructed so that breaks and working hours are observed. Regular exercise should also be encouraged, as this is “essential for a healthy mind and body”.
Even before the corona pandemic, Vodafone Germany employees were able to spend 50 percent of their working hours in the home office.