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„Nothing is as constant as change“
– Heraclitus –

For nearly half a year, a single term has dominated the world’s media and people’s personal everyday life: coronavirus! Many people associate the term “corona” only with the brewing trade (…I can’t take hearing the joke about this beer anymore). A beer that, in my opinion, does not even have bog-standard level. It can perhaps be best described with the word “constant”; it changes nothing. Not its taste while drinking it and not my mood after I have drunk it either (at least not for the better). Recently, however, the term “corona” has meant anything but constancy. It implies and demands a high degree of change.

The current coronavirus pandemic impacts on all conceivable areas of life. However, coronavirus particularly changes everyday working life and impacts, among other aspects, on internal communication with colleagues and superiors as well as the communication with external partners and customers. Work from home, furlough and ban on contact are just a few of the keywords that are having a massive impact on the current daily working routine. From a global perspective, however, this pandemic is not only revealing shortcomings and failings in politics and in the healthcare system of many countries, but is also highlighting rapidly and mercilessly to many companies their own antiquated working structures. The speed and impact of this crisis is turning the economy on its head, on a cross-sector and cross-border basis. As quickly as this virus began to spread across the entire globe, so quickly all companies and their employees had to adjust and change their habits. An alternativeless, lived-out experiment without long preparation and implementation phases or tedious workshops. A circumstance that entails a great many risks but that, ideally, generates added value for companies. One of the central key concepts here is “digitalisation”. Often heard, frequently used, rarely (correctly) implemented.

However, the present conditions are forcing many companies to rethink their digitalisation strategy and policy and to act. This forced digitalisation is making them think again about their business areas and will, in the medium and long term, possibly lead to new digital business models, digital products and improved digital work and task structures. The very country where the first proven case of coronavirus occurred shows in its language a possible positive perspective on this precarious situation. The Chinese character for crisis consists of two symbols which, read individually, have the meaning danger and opportunity. An opportunity we can and should all take advantage of. Thus, in these times especially, softening and adapting antiquated and analogous structures is equally without alternative, and yet there has rarely been a better time to take the necessary steps that help to prepare one’s own company for future tasks and to shape the future working life of each employee and the success of the company. A showcase example for active digitalisation is the practice of working from home. The coronavirus pandemic has led at an unforeseeably rapid speed to a change in people’s daily working routine. In areas where it was possible, home offices were introduced at a moment’s notice. Working from home – for many this initially sounds not all too problematic, and yet many are not used to it. Especially the companies and employers themselves. For many companies it is new territory and means huge expenditure, especially with a view to trust and IT security.

In my view, after the crisis, working from home or mobile work will not become the normal and day-to-day work form. The human desire for social contact is too great. The spontaneous chat with colleagues at the coffee machine, the rapid, creative brainstorming sessions before, after and during meetings and the joint lunch breaks that further strengthen the team fabric; all examples that, in addition to the actual work, form equally important aspects for a happy and productive working environment and that impact on the future success of the company. Nevertheless, I believe that the adjusted working methods can awaken new potential in the employees and equip them for new creative tasks and solutions. At this point, I would like to highly recommend the blog article of my colleague on the “dos and don´ts of working from home”.

Best regards!

Danny Weber
Logistics and Packaging Planning

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