This post was automatically translated for convenience purposes.
Under this year’ s motto “Walk the line”, the SEF (short for Swiss Economic Forum) motivates companies to take more risks and to be willing to experiment. A motto that has become even more important due to current events. Especially in this time of crisis, agility, innovative ability and the degree of digitalization play a decisive role in the company. For many of us, this means switching to a home office in this situation. But not everyone is well prepared for this drastic transformation in time… .
This is the reason why the SEF.Talk has been initiated – over several episodes, Cleverclip founder and CEO, Carlo Badini, along with other SEF partners and experts, will discuss questions around the topic “Remote Work”. All live streams as well as the corresponding transcripts can be read afterwards on our blog.
The first episode started yesterday, April 23rd, and was dedicated to remote communication. The discussion was supported by exciting participants, including Dino Graf, Head of Group Communication, Responsibility & Brand Management of AMAG Group AG, Hans-Peter Nehmer, Head of Corporate Communications & Responsibility of Allianz Suisse Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG, and Michael Schranz, Marketing Manager of Apps with Love. What experiences and challenges await us in the field of remote communication? What needs to be considered? What can we learn? Take a look at what the expert panel discussed.
Would you prefer to attend the next SEF.Talk live? Then secure your place here.
Carlo Badini: Wonderful. I welcome everyone very warmly. I’m glad that it works. We hope that the connection will remain stable as it is at the moment. We have tested it, it should all more or less work. Otherwise I would say hello to everyone very quickly. I am the Carlo myself. I own the Cleverclip GmbH. We are a communications agency, on the road for seven years and are completely remote. So we’ve been doing what they usually throw in the cold water for seven years. I’m now a bit of a modeler today and I’m looking at the fact that we are now discussing these topics in context and communication in the Remote-Workforce. How has this been established over the last few weeks, what can we learn from it? What can we take with us? I would actually like to, the whole thing goes on for about 30 minutes and then we would go into a few questions from our viewers. You can ask questions during the whole livestream. Below is a question box that you can open and put your questions in. At the end, when we are done with the discussion, we will edit it as much as we can, as far as time allows. In 45 minutes at the latest we will draw a line here and get back to our work. Now, before we get started, I would like to give each of our panelists a quick opportunity to introduce themselves. Shall we start with Hanspeter, is that okay?
Hanspeter Nehmer: We can do that. Hello everyone, my name is Hanspeter Nehmer, I’m the head of communications at Allianz Switzerland Insurance Company. I’ve been doing this for ten years now, and this year I’m celebrating my tenth anniversary. I think it’s an exciting experiment to have a talk like this on video and to discuss it with other colleagues there as well.
Carlo Badini: Super, merci much. Dino do you want to drive on right away?
Dino Graf: I’d love to. Dino Graf. I’ve been in office a little longer than Hanspeter. I have been head of Corporate Communications at AMAG since 1998, and I think it’s been very exciting, and for us the process has been particularly exciting now. We started with mobile working at our company last summer, slowly stepped in and now at one go we had to implement it for practically all office lists.
Carlo Badini: Super, merci much. Michael, do you still want to be the tail light?
Michael Schranz: Hello everyone. My name is Michael Schranz. I am responsible for the business development of Apps with Love. We are a software company and are used to remote work in many parts. Three years ago, I myself travelled around the world remotely for a whole year and worked from there 80 percent. That is a little bit my connection to this topic. I learnt what the advantages could be there, but also many obstacles in the remote work setting.
Carlo Badini: Great, so I think it’s a good mix, we have two younger, digitally oriented companies and a few established companies.
Hanspeter Nehmer: Do you do the bow there.
Carlo Badini: Well established, established companies. And I think that gives a good mix to find out how the different companies do it. Before we go directly into the remote work and into the topic, it would take me a miracle to hear from you three: How is it going at the moment? How have you dealt with the current situation professionally? What kind of cuts have there been, how did you have to adapt? How is it now, yes now with you individually? I don’t know, Michael do you want to take over the floor again?
Michael Schranz: Yes, I’m sure that’s quite drastic for all of us, unless you’ve already worked from remote before, as is perhaps the case with your company. We have been used to remote office from our company, but not to that extent. That means private for me as well. I mean I have four kids left and you are practically forced to work at home. And for me that’s also a big difference between a self-desired and a planned remote office, where I can also choose where I set up my remote office. And I do it myself also otherwise. At least once a week in regular operation. But then I go to a place that is not at home, for example. And now we are really working in the forced home office and that is something completely different for me. I have four kiddies as I said and there you really have the clash of private needs and family and business and it all sticks together afterwards. In addition, because of our business, I can talk about luck, but also because of Corona, that we have several apps and software, which have a lot of use for it, have received additional use and attention and accordingly there is a lot of pressure from the client side, that we now step on the gas, especially in this Corona time, maybe work more than now necessarily less than before.
Carlo Badini: Cool, so surely you didn’t have to suffer a big loss on the business side?
Michael Schranz: That’s certainly what it is now, especially in the short term. In the medium and long term, we all know that if investments suddenly stop being made in all business, I don’t think they will all go digital first, but of course there can still be delays in investments, projects and so on.
Carlo Badini: How is it at AMAG?
Dino Graf: Yes, well, perhaps from an economic point of view, it is certainly the challenge on the one hand our manufacturers who have reduced production. On the other hand, there are companies that were able to continue servicing the vehicles. But at the same time the sales outlets are closed. The result is, of course, that car sales have fallen accordingly. Ordering cars online is not yet so common. Nevertheless, we have now been able to sell 16 cars via our new online portal. But the customer still wants to see them. For us as employees, you also have to see that we have a very heterogeneous population. We have employees who have to work in the company, the car mechanic, bodywork etc. And then there are those who just have an office job. And we have moved from four locations to one here in Cham last year. And when we moved, we started to plan for mobile working, the idea being that you would work from home or from outside the home for about one day a week. That you didn’t always have to come here. And now, since mid-March, everyday life for everyone is more like you have to work from home than here. So we could surely slowly get used to this new situation. But if it’s suddenly not just one day, but you’re at home in the home office for two or three days, then I have noticed from my own experience, I’m glad if I can maybe go to the office for another day, just to keep up the rhythm.
Carlo Badini: Mhm. Hanspeter?
Hanspeter Nehmer: Yes, with us it is certainly the case that we, we have already worked remotely before. A certain number of our employees have already done home office work. But never in this breadth as there. What was completely new for us, of course, was that we could say that we had switched within a day and 95 percent of the workforce, as there are 3600 employees throughout Switzerland. And you always have to look at the fact that we have an internal sales organisation and also a very large external sales organisation. That means agencies, main agencies, small agencies. And all of them are sent to the home office from one day to the next. And now there are about 100 people left at the Wallisellen location, where I am still located, and the rest are all working from home. And what is nice, I say that is actually the positive thing about this whole thing, besides the other suffering, where you get to see a little bit of everything yourself, that has worked very well, so for us it is also crucial that we are available for our customers in the same quality, that would have been the wish, and you can see that now after six weeks, the so-called service levels, as we call them, are at the same level as before and in that sense it is actually a success. And quite clearly I also want to say that in the Change has certainly, has something else happened, we have always had a bunch of managers who always had the feeling of home office, yes that is, I will say it casually, put your legs up and lie back and have it a little bit nice. And that hasn’t happened now, but people are really motivated to work. And we know that now, because two days ago we also did the first pilot with surveys. We asked certain areas how you are doing at home in your home office. And the feedback is quite positive, except for what Dino has already said and what I miss a little bit is the social contact, the direct exchange with the colleagues.
Carlo Badini: I can still remember, we started seven years ago, pretty much exactly, and from the very beginning we introduced home office or remote work. There was a practical reason for that, we could only afford such an ugly basement room in Bern and I didn’t want anyone to have to spend eight hours ironing in a grey, dirty room. And then I can still remember, feedback has often come back, that’s hippie management, it doesn’t work and now I have to say, even with us, where we have been doing it for a long time, it has always worked wonderfully. What I notice now, I think I agree with everyone, it’s always been so far, that’s what Michael said, it was always voluntary. We have such an office here in Berne, it actually functions a little bit as an internal co-working space and I was here two or three days a week and now I really feel at home and a little bit locked up and this interpersonal communication, which one has otherwise, is missing. And that’s what I noticed. In the last week I suddenly started to call some employees without an agenda just to ask them how it’s going.
Hanspeter Nehmer: That’s the challenge of staying in contact with the employees. Especially when you are a manager, I think that is the most important aspect at the moment to find out how my team is doing. And you can’t do that with the – I would say team calls, which are also about content, but to find out how the individuals are doing, you probably need a way to contact them so that you can call them and say: “Hey, how’s it going? To feel out a little bit how it works. And I think that is an additional effort for every manager or at the moment.
Dino Graf: I think it’s basically the effort, because in the company you can quickly go to the other workstation, you can quickly look at something with your colleague, here in remote working it’s either you send him an e-mail, you organize a telephone conference, it’s always more complex, because you can’t bring these different communication levels to some extent. You never know, if it’s relevant now, it’s more of a relationship issue now and I’ve noticed that, it’s quite a challenge. And there are certain topics that you want to look at with your people, you can’t do it via telephone conference and you can’t do it via video conference, then you have to have it physically, especially when it’s not a matter of content, but rather a, I’m really saying a relationship topic.
Carlo Badini: Michael, is that how you see it?
Michael Schranz: Yes, it’s really like that, so we have with my team very soon, so after a few days I noticed that in the Daily-Standup, where our company is a quarter of an hour actually in a joint call, that helps and very much. That’s what happens physically in our company at about ten o’clock. Of course you can’t do that in an alliance with 3500 employees, I understand that, but with our size it’s still possible. And that simply showed us briefly where the people are, you can see briefly how they are doing, and you can quickly see that when you hear them all speaking. But afterwards I noticed in my team that this general exchange is missing and then we introduced a Daily Call, where we simply have one hour, which is voluntary, but where we discuss topics of content and where we go on. And besides that, we’ve got Slack, which is our internal communication tool, which is also designed for remote teams, which means that in this Slack we have like an intranet, we have general channels that concern everyone, General, Random. And then you just have team-related and project-related or topic-related individual channels, which of course the whole communication, which you would otherwise, if you don’t have a Slack, probably go a lot to mail. Or you always have to have a call, where we still have an intermediate messaging solution with Slack, where we were all used to it from before.
Carlo Badini: We have Basecamp, in that sense the same thing is simply green. And have been since the beginning. So we tried Slack and then switched to base camp. And I had written that down, that would surprise me now, now with the two bigger companies, how do you solve it with the communication channels? We really have, like Michael, dedicated channels for dedicated topics and we can really, so we have zero e-mail traffic internally, zero. E-mails are only used for external communication. Everything else takes place in these channels, where we actually have a whatsapp-messaging history for each project or topic like a dedicated, like a whatsapp-messaging history and then you can always participate and communicate in the group like that. How do you do it?
Dino Graf: Well, I don’t think you can compare the smaller start-ups, which are very technology-oriented like you two, with us. 6500 people, 100 locations, just different fields of activity. I have to say that for us this crisis came six months too early, if you like, this corona crisis, because it was our turn to roll out the Microsoft team for these employees with a PC workstation, but also for the others, which gives us a lot of possibilities for internal communication. Chat, different groups and so on. Now we have been overtaken by the situation a little bit. We want to roll it out anyway, now we’re just a little earlier and it might not be rolled out as structured as we would have liked it to be, because we need it now for the cooperation today. Communication takes place on various channels.
E-mail, telephone, we have an intranet, and we have also established that we give all employees a short update weekly, sometimes twice a week, about the current situation regarding federal regulations. What do we need to know? The topic of how do we deal with certain holidays that are coming up? What about the holidays? Short-time work? All these issues that come up, we have established a channel, which is now still via e-mail, where we can easily reach all employees and then it is also from unit to unit work differently. Those who are a little more computer-savvy, those who are a little younger, more digital, some of them already needed the teams, they even communicated with Whatsapp, which is not always in the interest of a company. And others are really still very old-fashioned with e-mail and that’s why we don’t have such a line yet. In half a year we would probably have been a little bit differently positioned.
Hanspeter Nehmer: With us it’s more like that, so perhaps I cannot repeat what has already been said. I believe that there are official channels, especially in a company like ours, where there is a field and internal sales organization, where there is a lot of customer contact, and especially now, at the beginning, when this crisis broke out, we had an enormous need for information from the employees, and we satisfied this need by communicating very quickly, very often and very much. We called it a Corona platform, set up with various sub-themes, the dinosaur has actually already hinted at it, these are the similar topics. Labour law, health, etc. This has been updated regularly, and the crisis management team has also informed us very quickly. Then we also have what we might call a CEO letter or, as we call it, a CEO letter. Every week he addresses the staff and wants to motivate them a little, to say, “Come on, we can do it together. And then we did something completely new now and that is now also what has emerged from the crisis, an idea that we built up within a week. This is Allianz Radio.
And we called the Allianz Radio “Hello from the home office” because we noticed that something was still missing. We are very good at official communication, which we do regularly, but such a connecting element was still missing. And then we got the idea to make such a podcast, to give it a sexy name and above all to connect this home office, that was the topic. And the content of this podcast, in the beginning it was produced daily, then we started a good week ago and now we are in a two-day rhythm and now we see that the click rates are going back a little bit and now we are thinking about reducing this cadence again. And the content of this podcast is actually in two parts. In the first part we have an interview with experts who report very much in the field, what this corona situation triggers in them and in the second part we switch to the employees at home and discuss their issues with each other. This is also in the sense of giving good tips. It’s a kind of home schooling on how to deal with the situation, how to give people who are now retiring and can’t say goodbye in person, and how to give them the opportunity to say: “Bye, we’ll see you again for sure.
Carlo Badini: Yeah that’s cool.
Dino Graf: We have something like that, we didn’t have a radio and we also have in the beginning is of course oh now is this corona situation, you can’t be funny with that, you have to take it seriously. And then there was this structural, clear communication of information and now over the last one or two weeks we’ve opened it up a little bit. We asked our customers how they felt about how we have implemented this. On the intranet, in another section, we also asked them about their experiences with the home office. That is divided between information and a bit of entertainment for amusement. There have been one or two video clips that we are now posting there. Just that the people have a little entertainment. I have seen in the chat a question came in from Christian Gartmann, whether this digitalization push stops now with us or perhaps afterwards then again a little back. I think we have already been working on digitizing even more. And to focus on the new technologies. We’ve been working on that for some time now. Just mobile working, introducing teams. If we now take ten steps forward, we will perhaps take two steps back, but I am convinced that the current situation opens the door to one or two things that were not debatable a year ago.
Hanspeter Nehmer: The question from our joint colleague Christian Gartmann. This direction, which is now in the room at the moment, and I believe the momentum, we must somehow exploit it and also look, I believe it is once again important to learn from it, it would simply be a pity if you just put everything back to the old way, you can’t do that either, because we have now made surveys in a pilot unit to find out how people are doing at home. And a lot has come out of that. The home office works, technically it works well, I like it, and that gives us a momentum where we can say: “Okay, if this works, then we have to continue on this path somewhere. I think this is certainly what we can pull out of this Corona time and certainly many other learnings.
Carlo Badini: What are the differences. From my perspective, I never, I more or less founded the company after the Gymi, I never really worked in a traditional company that is not remote. Now from the two of you above all, from Michael it also takes me wonder, do you have to be more conscious about communication? Because you have less informal channels where you can just walk by the watercooler and talk fast. Is it possible that you are forced to install a radio station or we had a question somewhere daily stand-ups with Microsoft teams. What we are doing now is that we just discuss once a week informally without an agenda / together in the sense of having an after-work beer. So you have to be more aware of this than if you work together physically in the same place?
Hanspeter Nehmer: Absolutely. Maybe Michi can say something, because it’s still exciting to hear.
Michael Schranz: Yes, that’s the way it is with us, it really is, I think every employee or I, where the company is running something, has the need for business communication, that’s one part, that’s certainly important. And there you had previously established things, meetings, documents, hard things, where there are certainly better and less good tools for teams that are remote. On the other hand, you really do have the need for informal communication and interaction, I have the feeling of every employee and so on. And if, as before, you simply leave the remote office to anyone on a voluntary basis, as is the case in our company, you will have all the tools you need to participate in all things, they are already in place. Even before our team meeting was physically and virtually via Google Hangout. All these things are mirrored on collaborative platforms, where we share our documents, where everyone works in the same document and so on.
So these tools were already there, but before this forced home-office situation, I think everyone could satisfy their informal needs in direct, physical contact. So me. I could still talk to him in the office, here and there, informal chat and so on. And because that is no longer possible to the extent that it is now, we have also integrated additional things, informal, extra informal chats like a Thirsty-Friday, where you take a beer together after work. Like playing together on a game, we have our own game that we’re developing, where you’re all in this tap, tap, win, win and play together a little bit. At the same time the chat window is open. We have yoga, what we also had before physically, once a week, we also digitalized, there at yoga you can once again, yes because the movement is also the problem since then. You stay at home now, so I feel it with me. I really have to force myself. Before I did my 10’000 steps on the way to the office and back home. Now I have to force myself that I deliberately do not just do this one for a telco, that I go for a walk afterwards and do this on the way or something. Yes, it is already a new situation that requires additional things to what we already had before. We are certainly fortunate that we made remote access possible before, but now it has additional things that it needed, that it still needs in order to cover the informal as well as possible.
Carlo Badini: Mega exciting, because it also does a little bit of what the Dino said at the beginning regarding that there are obviously topics that you can hold in writing. There are certain topics that can be held better via video conference, then there are certain topics that you obviously have to sit face-to-face. I’d be surprised what exactly these, you said relationship issues. From my perspective, from my experience, I’ve often hired people via video conferencing. I’ve had to fire people over videoconferencing, very tedious pay talks over video. Well, I think I’ve been allowed to hold everything virtually from all these tedious conversations or demanding conversations that you have in your everyday life as a manager. And it has actually always worked well. What has become extremely established with us, and this is also a question that was asked in the chat, has become very established with us to send video messages. So what we noticed is that there are certain topics that are very good for writing down. These are mostly somehow related topics. Then you can simply read it again quickly and retrieve the information. But then as soon as it’s an emotional, loaded topic and it needs finesse in communication, then it pays off and that’s what we always do, recording a video and sending it afterwards. Then you’re still in asynchronous communication, you can consume it when you want and when you have time, and at the same time you can convey the additional facial expressions and gestures. How do you have it?
Dino Graf: I think Carlo is the difference between you, who have always worked remotely, and your teams, who are perhaps used to that, and in our case it’s just a little bit of an established company with a 75-year history, that we as managers are not used to working with these channels and can have certain discussions with these channels. And that we, as managers, perhaps also feel more comfortable when I can talk effectively with these employees, when it’s a question of how to, I say now, build or develop a team relationship, or when something hasn’t worked out quite as it should have. Then I’m used to it, I think my employees were also used to discussing such things in physical contact, in a room. And when you leave the room, it’s clear and it’s true for everyone. Video is an instrument that we have always used in recent years to prepare employees for certain topics. It is also a communication channel that our CEO needs on a monthly basis. There is the Mortens-Update by Morten Hannesbo, where he simply expresses himself to the employees on at least one topic every month. If it has directive level or guideline level, then of course it is still in writing.
Hanspeter Nehmer: I think you took emotions into your word Carlo and I think that’s exactly what it’s all about. You have to choose the information channel where you want to send the messages that you want to send, so that they arrive in the right way. And I believe that interpersonal issues work best in physical meetings. And then there’s video, where you can transport even more and our podcast, the radio, doesn’t really have any other purpose, just to release emotions, to connect these people who are now in this home office with each other, to hear and feel voices. Or also members of the management, who can express themselves here. Also once something personal of itself to give, where one otherwise just does not do so. So I think this is a chance now also because you have tried out new tools. And I’m like Dino: we’re 125 years old as a group, we’re not that old in Switzerland yet, but of course we’re also more at home with the traditional, and yet the teams have what I’ve heard now, a lot of things have happened to each other, they chat with each other, they have beer and gin meetings somewhere, and who knows what’s coming. I have even heard that some of them have made costume events. This has now happened, which probably would not have happened before. Nobody would have come to the company in a cowboy costume, for example.
Carlo Badini: As a final question, we’ve been on for half an hour. Now you personally, but also your teams, how do you feel, are you more productive, less productive, about the same productive than before? Michi?
Michael Schranz: Maybe a little less in certain areas and more in certain areas. I noticed it with myself, for example, when I was travelling for a year and still took over the job of marketing and sales with my team, I worked through certain topics much more efficiently. For example, I was able to write a lot more blogs, because I was then calmer for me in a room. And had much less disturbances. But maybe I was less efficient in feeling, managing and influencing the interpersonal issues in the team or in the company as a whole, or in job application stories or employee matters. That’s why it’s difficult to say whether we are more productive or not. It has a lot to do with external factors, such as the order situation and so on. We are fortunate that we really do have an offer in this area of digitalization. We develop software, digitization strategies, help and advise companies how they can digitize. And accordingly, in terms of the order situation, we certainly don’t have less to do there, but more. And if we play this off well, we can also make productivity in this sense a nice one. But to promise this in such a general way is a little difficult, I would say. But I’m happy to pass this on to Hanspeter, where he can perhaps make a very clear statement.
Hanspeter Nehmer: Now you’re handing over the hot potato to me. That’s a good question, because we ask ourselves the same question of course, are we more productive than before? I can’t answer this question like that at the moment. Maybe I can answer it from my own environment when I’m talking to my team members or maybe others from the company. One thing that can certainly be determined is that the days are longer. So you work more, which is also how I perceive it at the moment. I work more than before the Corona crisis. Why? Because the days are longer to catch all these people somewhere. You can’t catch them when it suits you. That’s one thing. And the second thing I hear, parents who now have their children at home and have home schooling, yes, they just have these children and then it’s first of all about the child and then maybe in the second one about the alliance. And I think that is also good at the moment. But whether it would go on like this in the long run is a completely different question. But at the moment that is just the way it is and I hear now also from the team members who have children who say then I just have to interrupt. I say, is fine, is also right so. And then in the evening I let myself in again. So they also work longer. And you simply have to be aware of that. I think it’s a pretty extraordinary situation for everyone.
Carlo Badini: Dino do you want to close?
Dino Graf: So then I take the hot potato and I give a very clear answer: Yes and no. It’s at the moment when I’m working on a project where I have to concentrate on a text, on whatever. So where I like to be undisturbed for a moment, I’m definitely more productive. I am more undisturbed. But the moment I’m working with the team, where journalist requests come in my job and I have to check it out with other units, it’s of course much more time-consuming. And then I would say, I am not more productive. So there are tasks where you are more productive in the home office and there are other tasks where you are more productive in the team in the office. And we got this question: What do we estimate the future share of home office That’s just another one of those yes and no questions. It will be department-dependent, it’s a question of how the supervisor feels about home office. I for my team would say we will probably be two thirds in the office again, one third in the home office. And then I have the feeling that we have the optimum balance in terms of productivity for our work.
Carlo Badini: Okay, Michael you were already remote. Are there any differences in how it’s going to be, are you going back to to-?
Michael Schranz: Before, we didn’t want to tell anyone where to work. And we won’t afterwards. But we are not going to reduce the size of our main office because we have the feeling that no one will come anymore. Because you’ve seen how things work at home. We have a very democratic company where everyone has a say in how we want to continue or develop the company. We have certainly all felt now, what is possible, with how much distance and how can you manage that. But we have no plans to do anything different in the future. You have always had the possibility to work from anywhere. And you will also be able to do that in the future.
Carlo Badini: Hanspeter, what do you feel about you?
Hanspeter Nehmer: Well, let me now express a hypothesis. I believe there will be more in the future. Because I think the most important point I have always said in interviews: The dam has now burst. We still had a lot of managers, one has to be self-critical now, right up to the management, who were actually not so convinced of this home office before Corona, who always had the feeling that these people were not working, but were having a nice day, which is not the case now. And these advantages of this home office are just that, this traveling, which is omitted, etc., etc., etc., I do not have to list everything now. I think so. In the future we will have more and more home offices in the company in different areas. What is also exciting is a field service organization, where the physical contact with the customer is the main thing, where we were very much affected, especially with this lockdown, where suddenly there was no more physical contact with the customer, they too suddenly switched to video consulting and it worked. Or they went to the customers via chat. That worked and I think there will also be changes in the field service organisation in this direction.
Carlo Badini: It’s great that you say the management was critical and you don’t count yourself among them.
Hanspeter Nehmer: Not everyone. One comes to mind now, I don’t mention any names of course. Something will have happened there, I think, because this person, now woman or man doesn’t matter now, otherwise you would find out quickly whether woman or man, this person is also at home in the home office. And it works well.
Carlo Badini: Great. Just going over the questions real quick. I think we’ve answered most of them. I think we have so far, we have answered all the questions I think during the interview relatively well. There is one last one and I think this is a great final question from Doris Albisser: Could it be that in the long term organizations will introduce flatter management structures? I now also believe, and I can confirm this because it is at least the same for us. It takes me by surprise, as it does with Michael. With a remote company, such a flat hierarchy usually goes hand in hand or self-management, where you give up a lot of control, and that would surprise me.
Michael Schranz: Well, I personally have the feeling that this has more to do with trust and empowerment. And yes, if you equate empowerment with hierarchy, then you could say that, but I don’t think so. I think it doesn’t necessarily matter if you are remote or if you see yourself as a physical company, what kind of hierarchy or organizational structure you have. I think it does, and if you’re not ready, then you have a company problem anyway. But for me, that doesn’t have much to do with hierarchical levels, to be honest. That’s my opinion.
Hanspeter Nehmer: I would actually just take over Michi. After all, we come from such a traditional environment. I would now say that we have a relatively flat hierarchy. But I think what you say is actually decisive. There have been and will be some changes in the leadership due to what we are experiencing now. I think that is decisive, the topic of trust. Giving trust, giving confidence, being able to really live this self-responsibility yourself, not just, as they say, drawing on our beautiful slides and saying: “Hey dear employee, be courageous, act on your own responsibility”. He or she has done this now, or she has done it herself, in the sense that she has taken on responsibility at home and has seen to it that everything works. A lot has happened, and I believe that we are no longer talking about hierarchies, but about the issue of attitude. I am with you.
Carlo Badini: Dino do you want to make the last, important weighted closing word?
Dino Graf: Oh, that’s another task now. I think there is a difference between structural hierarchical levels, as they are partly still in the organization charts, and on the other hand, as it is lived in the company. We have an organization chart with management levels, but we have also noticed that employees are now empowered in such a way that no matter what hierarchical level they have, if they have the competence and qualities to take on a topic and take on a leadership role there, then that is what happens. No matter what leadership level that person has today.
Carlo Badini: Great. Those were good closing words. Thank you. We’re right on time. We did 45 minutes. I think that went wonderfully well. Thank you three so much for participating. I thank the participants for participating. Merci very much for the questions. You can upload it, as soon as we have uploaded it, you can check the SEF-Talk website if you want. Now I would have to quickly get out the notes that I won’t forget to say anything. The next SEF-Talk will take place a week from today at the same time. At four o’clock. The topic will be: Culture and Communication. And who will be taking part, we will say, communicating, in the next few days. You can find more information about all this on swisseconomic.ch/seftalk. So you can already register for the next session next Thursday. And if you want more information about Remote-Work and how you and the company can use it, you can find it at cleverclipstudios.com/remoteworkguidefürunternehmen. There you will find a guide, which was created by us, where we will go through the individual topics again in writing. Merci many times to the participants and to everyone who took part. I will quickly give a final word to you three.
Hanspeter Nehmer: Let me just say one thing: Stay healthy – it was great fun to try out such a new experiment. But it remains healthy. That is the most important thing.
Dino Graf: I can confirm exactly that. Stay well and see you soon.
Michael Schranz: Merci very much for listening and so that you can stay healthy, go out and hug a tree, this is recommended to everyone, a great tip that I can only sign.
Carlo Badini: I join in, stay healthy, yoga or meditation also helps, maybe we can join Apps with Love next week for the online session. Merci many times to all of you. And have a great evening. Bye everyone.
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