The world of work is changing more than ever in these times: In addition to home office, mobile working and pandemic, the topic of "back to the office" is now increasingly making its way into companies again. Winfried Althaus, Managing Director at KGS Software GmbH, focuses on flexibility, communication, planning and team building when it comes to these topics.
Corona pandemic and home office - How did you experience the change from daily work in the office to home office?
Basically, the topic of home office and mobile working was not new to us, as our colleagues are spread all over Germany. So it was easy for us to accept and implement the new situation immediately. The existing infrastructure for working from home also made the transition easier. One of the biggest challenges was the unfamiliar situation in the sales team. Personal contact with our customers disappeared from one day to the next - for the sales team, this meant an enormous change in their daily work. We also missed the many team events that kgs used to have regularly in the past and that still characterize our corporate culture today.
What is your biggest learning from the Corona pandemic in terms of employee motivation and retention?
It quickly became clear that communication with employees* was now all the more important. That's why we consciously took time to exchange ideas with our colleagues - our People & Culture team, as well as our colleagues from the management team and myself. Fortunately, we were also able to welcome many new colleagues during the pandemic. The onboarding process was fully digitalized and further simplified. Online training and tutorials were also intensified. In addition, we started to draw up development plans together with our employees, which gave our colleagues and us planning security in these rather "uncertain times". Part of the development plans are also external trainings and events that can be attended.
Basically, we at kgs work according to the principle of trust - both in terms of working hours and the opportunity to work where you would like to be. We're keeping that in mind even after the pandemic.
What do you think is important now for normality to return to the office?
With the move to our new premises in April of this year, we have created the best conditions for a new office culture to emerge. Our new office should not only be a place to work, but also a meeting place for our teams. From personal conversations to meetings and workshops - the aim is to strengthen personal contact again. We also want to give a lot of space to the exchange between different teams. The new parking situation also facilitates spontaneous get-togethers. We have already been able to hold small-scale joint events in recent weeks - from developer day to mini-football tournaments during the lunch break. Another new feature for kgs is the offer of an inexpensive lunch canteen. Hot and cold drinks are still available - ideal for a short break on the sunny terrace. The new air conditioning system is also sure to give our employees a lot of pleasure during this hopefully sunny summer.
In summary, the new situation has also been a challenge for us. It has become clear that the working world is developing in a completely new direction - but one that we fully support. It is important to be flexible and to leave the 9-to-5 routine in the office behind to a certain extent. None of our employees will have to return to the office every day from one day to the next, but will continue to have the opportunity to organize their professional lives in a way that delivers the best results for them and for us.